Portugal vs. Spain FIFA World Cup 2010 Live Blog: Results, Scores, Analysis

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Portugal vs. Spain FIFA World Cup 2010 Live Blog: Results, Scores, Analysis
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Hi there. I'm Guido, Bleacher Report writer, and I will be your guide through this crucial second round match between Portugal and Spain.

Both sides are looking to progress in the tournament, having made it this far. Spain were touted as favorites prior to the start of the competition, but they have struggled to live up to their reputation so far.

Portugal are relying heavily on the most expensive player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7 scored his first goal of the tournament versus North Korea, but like the Spanish side, he hasn't really managed to impress as much as was expected.

So, if you can’t get to a TV, why not follow all the drama and excitement right here on Bleacher Report? Join the conversation and banter by posting your comments below the article; I promise to respond within minutes.


Post-match Analysis; Deserved win for the Spanish

Spain deserved this win. They dominated this game and actually started this game with the intention to win the game. Portugal started out looking for a draw and a lucky counter-attack to possibly win the game, and they got the only just reward for their cowardice, a 1-0 loss.

Spain did what they had to do, they maintained a wide formation, stretched the Portuguese defence in an effort to open it up and get the final balls in. In the first half, Spain played too slow and Torres was not at his best.

During the second half, Spain picked up the pace and added Llorente upfront, who plays off the shoulder of the last defender and maintains a central position instead of roaming around, which means the wingers got more space as well.

Eventually, it was Villa who deservedly finished off the Portuguese by cutting inside to receive a through ball and put Spain through. Spain could and should have scored a few more goals, but they were a bit wasteful with their finishing.

 

Game-over for CR7 (90+3 minutes into the game)

Spain versus Paraguay, bye bye Ronaldo. Spitting at the camera, disgraceful behavior. 

 

Marchena on for Xabi Alonso (90+3 minutes into the game)

Surely for time-wasting purposes only.

 

Capdevilla vs Bruno Alves (90+2 minutes into the game)

Portugal's Bruno Alves goes head-to-head with Spain's Joan Capdevila. The referee resolves it without cards.

 

Red card for Ricardo Costa (89 minutes into the game)

Capdevila gets elbowed by Ricardo Costa and the Portuguese defender gets sent off. Sore loser.

 

Villa replaced by Pedro (88 minutes into the game)

David Villa, the scourge of the Portuguese and scorer of the only goal so far, is replaced by Barcelona's Pedro.

 

Llorente misses a good opportunity for 2-0 (87 minutes into the game)

Another fast attack down the wings, excellent cross as well, but Llorente's header misses the target by a few centimetres. Excellent performance so far by Llorente.

 

Ronaldo has been useless today (83 minutes into the game)

Yeah, he did a few step-overs and a few back-heels, but he has been ineffective today. His shooting has been abysmal and he seems too busy with diving and complaining to actually make an impact on the game.

 

Portugal unable to break Spain's stride (80 minutes into the game)

The Spanish passing game is tearing up the midfield now that Portugal have to give away space. The Portuguese are responding with a lot of fouls and Tiago just got booked, which means he misses the next World Cup game.

 

Villa fires a rocket at the Portuguese goal (77 minutes into the game)

Wonderful long range effort by Villa, but Eduardo saves his nation once more. That Portuguese goalie is playing rather well there.

 

Portugal pressing forward (75 minutes into the game)

The Portuguese defensive line has moved forward, which means more and more space will be opening up for the Spanish forwards and midfielders. Come on Spain, counter-attack and finish this.

 

Liedson on for Simão (72 minutes into the game)

A winger off, a poacher on. Probably means Danny is moving to a more wide position.

 

Ramos nearly doubles the lead (70 minutes into the game)

Portugal's Eduardo keeps his team in the game there with a stellar save. Sergio Ramos surges forward, cuts inside and nearly beats Eduardo with a low drive. There appears to be more space opening up for Spain, as the Portuguese wing-backs are pushing further up the field. 

 

Portugal should move forward now (67 minutes into the game)

Despite Spain leading 1-0, Portugal seems unwilling to commit more players to offensive front-line duties. You do want to win, don't you, mister Queiroz?

 

GOAL! Villa breaks the deadlock! (62 minutes into the game)

Villa cuts inside to get on the receiving end of a Iniesta through ball and David Villa beats Eduardo in the rebound, after shooting straight at the goalkeeper first.

 

Villa cuts inside and fires (61 minutes into the game)

Spanish fireworks it seems. Villa cuts inside and curls the ball towards goal, just wide of the post. Still, I prefer him keeping a wide position.

 

Nearly a perfect entry for Llorente (60 minutes into the game)

OOOH!!! The 1.93 tall Llorente comes close to scoring the first goal of the game with a diving header from a cross from the right side of the pitch. His first touch as well, but the ball goes straight at the keeper.

 

Double substitution, one each (58 minutes into the game)

A sulking Hugo Almeida is replaced by Danny, whereas Del Bosque substitutes Fernando Torres for Fernando Llorente. Another goalless match for Torres...

 

Final ball is lacking (57 minutes into the game)

One of Spain's main weapons in the past few years has been their rapid passing and lethal final ball, but that final ball is lacking this tournament. Their passing still looks great, but the effectiveness is not as it should be. Not many real chances created so far.

 

That took too long! (54 minutes into the game)

Another Spanish attack that started wide and moved into a more central position with a single pass. This one set up Iniesta on the edge of the box, but the Barcelona midfielder had too much time to aim and fire, so a defender was able to block that shot. Still, it showed for a second time why Spain should play wide.

 

Puyol nearly deflects it in (52 minutes into the game)

Hugo Almeida skips past Pique and nearly sees his cross deflected into the Spanish goal by Puyol's thigh. Unlucky for Portugal, fortunate moment for Spain. Would've been an awfully flukey goal anyway.

 

Spain really should keep a wide formation (50 minutes into the game)

Capdevila's effort to cross, as futile as it was, showed why Spain should maintain a wide formation. It stretches the Portuguese defence as well, which in turn opens up space down the centre for the Spanish midfielders to run into. The pass by Capdevila was poor, but there were two Spaniards in space there.

 

Stop cutting inside! (47 minutes into the game)

Seriously, David Villa should keep the formation wide instead of cutting inside, there's no space down the centre anyway, so go around it and cross it. Those shots are getting blocked anyway.

 

Second half kickoff (46 minutes into the game)

No substitutions at the start of the second half. Wasn't expecting any to be honest.

 

Halftime Analysis

My pre-match expectations have come true. Spain is left to attack and try to dominate the game, whereas Portugal is trying to counter-attack and exploit the space Spain is giving away.

Portugal has looked slightly more dangerous on the break, but it's strange that they looked most dangerous when Ronaldo was not involved in the attacks.

Portugal's star player is not having a good day, keeps the ball with him for too long and messes up all his individual efforts. He's also too obsessed with excelling, instead of just keeping it simple. Pass and move, pass and move, and try to dodge tackles, instead of running into them.

Spain's passing is electrifying at times, but it's too slow. It looks nice, but it's not fast enough to surprise the Portuguese defence. Spain had one really nice attack, during the phase of the match were Portugal was applying more pressure.

The Iberians opened up the Portuguese midfield and combined their way through, but the final ball was lacking. More of these high-speed attacks please...

 

Too slow (45 minutes into the game)

I like the Spanish build-up play, but it's too slow and too predictable. It looks really smooth and technically skilled, but it's never dangerous, because the tempo is too low. You can't surprise a seasoned opponent like Portugal if you're too slow in your passing.

 

Portugal launches a dangerous counter-attack (42 minutes into the game)

Clever goal-kick from Portugal sends Simão Sabrosa towards the Spanish goal, but Casillas races off his line to clear the ball. The pass was good, maybe a tad too hard for Simão. Nice play. Portugal look more dangerous when they don't involve Ronaldo.

 

Sloppy defending (39 minutes into the game)

Capdevila is forced to defend against two Portuguese forwards on a cross from the left side, but the forward is unable to get his header on target. Still, sloppy defending by Spain.

 

Almeida goes Bruce Lee on Puyol (38 minutes into the game)

Seriously, that challenge looked like something out of a karate movie. Almeida hits Puyol in the side, but the Catalan defender is hard as a coffin nail and carries on.

 

And Ronaldo takes a dive again (34 minutes into the game)

Seriously man, you're so much better than these fake dives. Rise above it and just play your own game, instead of diving all the time. The referee is more likely to give you a yellow card than award you a free kick.

 

Portugal getting more dominant (31 minutes into the game)

Whilst Spain is still the dominant side in terms of possession and shots, Portugal is pushing forward a bit more, trying to win back the midfield and limit the amount of space Xavi gets. They're succeeding as well.

 

At least he's getting closer (28 minutes into the game)

Another free kick, 37 yards out this time, another long shot by Ronaldo. Casillas punches it clear. At least he's getting them on target now.

 

Intricate passing by Spain (25 minutes into the game)

Xavi, Iniesta and David Villa pass their way along the left wing, before trying to launch Villa. The pass was a bit too hard for Villa, but such lovely skill on the ball from those three. Imagine them playing at Barcelona together next season... Amazing team...

 

Busquets does a bit of gardening (23 minutes into the game)

After a sliding challenge on Ronaldo, Busquets takes a piece of the pitch along. Some nice gardening by Busquets there, who managed to repair the pitch. Sort of anyway.

 

Portugal look menacing there (20 minutes into the game)

Casillas is forced to make a save in two instances on a shot by Tiago Meireles. Spain's captain punches the initial shot high into the air and has to clear the ball a second time before Hugo Almeida can head it in. Nice effort by Meireles, nice break-away by Portugal.

 

Why? Just explain this to me, why? (17 minutes into the game)

Why on earth would you want to hit a free kick on goal from 35 yards out, to the left side of the pitch? It's not like you're going to score a goal from that far out...not even with the Jabulani. Stop trying to be the hero of the nation and just play to make your team function better, you muppet. Look at how Torres is doing just that for Spain, sacrificing himself for the good of the team.

 

Stop being a poof, Ronaldo! (16 minutes into the game)

He didn't touch you, so don't make a big scene. Stop diving all over the place and just let your feet do the talking instead of complaining to the referee like a spoilt brat. 

 

Intelligent corner variation by Spain (12 minutes into the game)

Intelligent little corner variation by Spain there. A short corner towards Fernando Torres, who misses the target from a difficult angle. Nice. I like these little set piece tricks. Reminds me of a trick Sweden once pulled during a World Cup.

 

Poor cross by Ronaldo (10 minutes into the game)

Not really anything special this World Cup, as CR7 has failed to impress so far. What strikes me is that he blames it on Almeida instead of himself. The cross was not good, son...strikers don't chase after bad crosses, it's not a lack of effort.

 

Coentrao looks very energetic (Seven minutes into the game)

That's the second surging run I've seen Coentrao make so far. Either the lad has tremendous stamina, or he will burn out before the end of the game if he keeps playing like this. Nice to see him make an effort though.

 

Spain besieging the Portuguese goal (Four minutes into the game)

The Spanish are passing the ball around well around the Portuguese box, looking for an opening. So far, they found two, but the Portuguese goalie saved both efforts. I hope Spain can maintain this wide formation, as it appears to be working so far.

 

What a start! (One minute into the game)

Torres cuts inside from the left side of the box and tests the reflexes of the Portuguese goalie. The Liverpool forward looks very eager to bag his first goal of the tournament. I hope we can see many more actions like this.

 

We're underway! (kickoff)

Hoping for a good game...

 

Ronaldo is not singing (Three minutes to kickoff)

The Portuguese are very enthusiastic singers. Not very good ones, but very enthusiastic. Hopefully they can play better than they can sing. Oddly enough, Ronaldo was not singing along with his teammates. Nervous, CR7? It's time to shine, baby!

 

Spain's anthem has no words (Four minutes to kickoff)

Just noticed that. Kind of strange I suppose, but hey, it's their anthem. Just looked strange to see all the players silent instead of muttering or singing the anthem.

 

My expectations

Both teams have played against each other 32 times, with Spain winning 15 games, to Portugal's 5. However, this is the first time these two go head-to-head during a World Cup and we all know history means nothing during the knockout phases of a World Cup.

It's a boring cliché, but it is true. I am unsure which one of these two will win, both sides are strong sides with excellent players and both sides have not really convinced during the group stages. 

Instead of predicting a winner, I will tell you who I hope will win. I'll be rooting for Spain, simply because they go out to actually win a game, whereas Portugal looks to defend and counter, a much more negative approach to football.

 

Response to the predicted lineups

No surprises in the Spanish side. Torres is deemed fit enough to start, which means Villa is placed on the left wing. It could lead to trouble if Villa keeps cutting inside, as this will congest the centre of the pitch.

The Portuguese have opted for Simão Sabrosa and Cristiano Ronaldo as wingers, with big, strong Hugo Almeida as their main forward. The Portuguese have kept 22 clean sheets in their last 26 games, so they will be looking to defend, as it's one of their main strengths.

 

Predicted line-ups

[ 4-4-2 ]   [ 4-3-3 ]
 
   Iker Casillas    Eduardo
   Sergio Ramos    Ricardo Costa
   Gerard Piqué    Bruno Alves
   Carles Puyol    Ricardo Carvalho
   Joan Capdevila    Fabio Coentrao
   Xavi Hernandez    Tiago
   Sergio Busquets    Pepe
   Xabi Alonso    Raul Meireles
   Andrés Iniesta    Simao
   David Villa    Hugo Almeida
   Fernando Torres    Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Spain Preview; Is Fernando Torres Fit Enough to Play?

Spain will probably field the same 4-2-3-1 formation they have used throughout the tournament so far. Which players will be out on the field tonight is a whole different matter. Fernando Torres looked unfit during the match against Chile and if Liverpool's wonder-kid isn't playing, it means David Villa might play in a more central role, which in turn opens up the left wing for Valencia's Silva.

It might not be a bad idea if Spain use Navas and Silva as proper wingers, who can maintain some width in the formation. Villa has played well as a left winger so far, but he cuts inside a lot, narrowing the formation, whereas I believe Spain should employ a wide formation against the Portuguese.

Portugal will be looking to defend pretty narrow and congest the centre of the pitch, which means the Spanish should turn to a new strategy. The Iberians usually resort to playing through the centre of the defence, but in this particular match, it might be wiser to go around the defence instead of through them.

 

Portugal Preview; Which Team Will Queiroz Send Out?

Like Spain, Portugal will stick to their formation, whilst the composition of the side remains far less clear. The Portuguese will stick to a 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid formation. A 4-3-3 when attacking, a 4-5-1 when defending because the wingers fold back into midfield.

The Portuguese wingers will keep the Spanish wing-backs, Capdevila and Ramos, occupied at the back, limiting their opportunities to move forward, which in turn might lead to a very congested midfield when Spain fail to stretch the midfield properly.

The potential formation remains a mystery. Where will Ronaldo play? Winger or striker? Will Pedro Mendes play in midfield or will he use Pepe? If Ronaldo plays upfront, will it be Simao or Duda manning the wing?

Portugal are probably hoping to congest the central midfield, to stop Xavi from distributing his pinpoint passes to the Spanish forwards, whilst trying to draw Spain in before launching devastating counter-attacks.

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