Portugal vs. Spain Live Stream: Game-Changers to Watch for in Euro 2012 Semis
Here we are, the Euro 2012 semifinals, and Portugal and Spain are sure to give us a clash worthy of remembering for years to come.
We have all the ingredients for a dynamic battle: superstars, team chemistry and a wealth of supporting players who can swing momentum to their side with one brilliant, thudding play.
Here are the game-changers who will determine the outcome, one way or another. The action starts at 2:45 ET on Wednesday, airing on ESPN and ESPN3.
Yeah, I know, a shocker, right? Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score in Portugal's first two matches. Then, he showed why he's one of the best players in the world.
When Portugal needed him the most, in the final group stage match against the Netherlands and in the quarterfinals against the Czech Republic, Ronaldo scored a combined three goals. Without those three goals, Portugal wouldn't have won either match. He's getting more opportunities at the net and making them count. At the rate Ronaldo's going, anything is possible for Portugal.
Pepe has been all over the pitch throughout Euro 2012. He's one of the best defenders in the world, and he's showing it. He's made a number of brilliant interceptions and tackles for Portugal. How dominant has the defender been? He's committed one foul in four matches, and suffered nine. He even scored a pivotal goal in Portugal's 3-2 victory over Denmark in its second group stage match.
The Real Madrid defender has been spectacular thus far for Portugal, his most recent example being against the Czech Republic. He's been a rock defensively and even led the charge on offense against the Czechs. Portugal is going to need him, specifically defensively, against the reigning champions.
What else can you say about Xabi Alonso? He scored twice against France in the quarterfinals, completed a match-high 99 out of 118 pass attempts, locked down on Karim Benzema and notched three tackles.
Alonso is riding a wave right now, and will be matched up against Portugal's scary offensive attack throughout the semis. He's a bigger key for Spain than it may appear.
David Silva has three assists in the tournament, and although he wasn't as effective in his last two matches for Spain, he has the ability to be a big difference-maker for the side. Especially going up against Portugal, Silva is going to have to be on top of his game. He needs to get back to how he played in Spain's first two Euro 2012 matches.
Who will win?
You knew this was coming, right? Fernando Torres has the ability to be a dynamic goal-scorer (as he showed against Ireland), but he's been inconsistent throughout the year. If he catches lightning in a bottle, the striker can be a hero for Spain. On the other hand, he could just as well flop. It's one of the reasons why coach Vicente Del Bosque has him coming off the bench.
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