Portugal vs. Spain: Complete Preview for Euro 2012 Semifinal 1
Portugal and Spain will play for the second straight time in the knockout round of a major tournament when they meet in UEFA Euro 2012's first semifinal game this Wednesday.
This "Iberian Rivalry" game will be interesting in more ways than one as the few Real Madrid players on the Portuguese side will be facing some of their teammates and some rivals from Barcelona.
Fans will surely be tuning in to see whether Cristiano Ronaldo can find his way to a tournament final or if the Spanish juggernaut will keep rolling on.
Here is a complete preview of this semifinal match between Portugal and Spain.
How They Got Here
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Portugal finished second in their group with two wins against Denmark and the Netherlands and one loss to Germany.
They defeated the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal game. The Portuguese have scored six goals and conceded three so far in this tournament.
Spain topped their group with two wins against Ireland and Croatia and one draw against Italy. They moved on to beat France in the quarterfinal.
The Spanish have scored eight goals in six games and conceded only one.
Team News: Portugal
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Aside from Helder Postiga, who will be missing the game due to injury, Portugal will be at full force heading into this game.
"Spain or France? We do not have any preference. Those are two great teams. We are waiting for them. I hope I will play well in that game and that we reach the final."
There does seem to be some trouble for the Portuguese, though, with two players reportedly coming to blows in a recent training session.
Team News: Spain
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There are no injury problems for Spain but there is the worry that the side may be suffering from fatigue. One of the team physios mentioned the advantage Portugal will have thanks to their extra two days rest.
The Spanish have suffered through criticism throughout the tournament but Vicente Del Bosque sees no problem, as reported by Via Goal.com.
"Up until now we have fulfilled [expectations]," the former Real Madrid boss argued during an interview with Radio Marca.
"We showed authority against France [in the quarterfinals] and we were only under threat in that one action with the [Ivan] Rakitic header that [Iker] Casillas saved [against Croatia, in the group stages].
"The important thing is to have control of the game in defence and attack. We have an enviable team."
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The Portuguese will have one enforced change from their regular line up but they are likely to line up with the same squad all around. Despite the admission of fatigue in the Spainish squad they are likely to line up as they usually do.
Portugal (4-3-3): Patricio; Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Coentrao; Veloso, Meireles, Moutinho; Nani, Ronaldo, Almeida
Spain (4-3-3): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Alonso, Busquets, Xavi; Silva, Iniesta, Fabregas
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Spain and Portugal have played each other 34 times and Spain leads the series with 16 wins. Portugal has six wins to its name and games between the nations have ended in a draw 12 times.