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Semi Final 1 - Portugal v Spain

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Euro 2012: Portugal v Spain

  • Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk
  • Date: Wednesday, 27 June
  • Kick-off: 19:45 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC One

TEAM NEWS

Portugal striker Helder Postiga is ruled out with a thigh injury, meaning coach Paulo Bento will be unable to name an unchanged side for a fifth successive match.

Postiga is expected to be replaced by Besiktas forward Hugo Almeida.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque reported no new injury problems following victory against France.

However, Fernando Torres and Pedro may be in line to start following claims the Spanish camp are "drained".

MATCH PREVIEW

Spain know better than most that Portugal are more than just a one-man team, even if Cristiano Ronaldo invariably hogs the headlines. Portugal thrashed the reigning world and European champions 4-0 in their last meeting, in November 2010; Ronaldo was not amongst the scorers, and was rested in the second half, when the hosts netted three of their four goals, condemning Spain to their heaviest defeat since a 6-2 loss to Scotland in 1963. And while the match was a friendly, the Spanish were by no means under strength - they included 10 of the side who started the World Cup final, plus David Silva.

Ronaldo was denied a memorable solo goal in the 4-0 win, finishing a jinking run with an audacious lob - only for Nani to unnecessarily head the ball in on the goal-line from an offside position. Clearly infuriated, Ronaldo reacted by hurling the captain's armband at the turf. The 27-year-old, who has adopted a shoot-on-sight policy at Euro 2012, knows that his legacy depends on reproducing his scintillating club at international level.

The world's second greatest player has failed to score in three previous appearances against Spain, including an anonymous display at the 2010 World Cup. In contrast, his great rival Lionel Messi has netted twice in three games against the Spanish. It seems that whatever Ronaldo does, Messi can (usually) do better - although neither player has won a major international tournament. If Ronaldo can inspire his side to victory in their next two matches, the argument about which of them is the world's greatest may not be quite so one-sided.

Spain's ability to retain possession means they are rarely on the defensive, but they have been put on the back foot following criticism of their style, much of it from the Italian media. La Repubblica branded the 2-0 win against France "really boring", lamenting the lack of an orthodox centre-forward. There were even a few jeers, presumably from Kiev neutrals, as the quarter-final meandered to a conclusion. Has "Tiki Taka" really morphed into "Tiki Takanaccio" - or were Spain merely conserving energy for the tougher tests that lie in wait?

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Spain have beaten Portugal only twice in 54 years (W2, D6, L4).
  • This will be the 35th meeting of the sides. Portugal failed to win the first 15 encounters, eventually breaking their duck in 1948. Spain lead the overall head-to-head by 16 wins to six.
  • All six of Portugal's victories came on home soil.

Portugal

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has six European Championship goals in total. Only Alan Shearer (seven) and Michel Platini (nine) have scored more in the history of the tournament.
  • The Portuguese have lost four of their five previous semi-finals at major tournaments, and have never won at this stage overseas. Their only win was 2-1 victory against the Netherlands on home soil at Euro 2004.
  • They have hit the woodwork six times at Euro 2012 - including four efforts from Ronaldo.

Spain

  • Spain will set a new record of 11 European Championship finals matches unbeaten if they avoid defeat. Their last loss in the competition was the 1-0 reverse to Portugal at Euro 2004.
  • The Spanish have kept eight consecutive clean sheets in knock-out games at major tournaments. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas is unbeaten in 780 minutes (13 hours) at this stage since Zinedine Zidane's 90th-minute goal for France at the 2006 World Cup.
  • According to Opta, Spain have completed 2,623 passes at Euro 2012, more than twice as many as Portugal (1,159)

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WANNA SEE PEDRO START.

ALSO LIKE TO SEE CR7 PLAY UPFRONT FOR PORTUGAL.

ALMEIDA IS ASS CHEEKS.

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The Portugese Federation is reportedly “outraged and disgusted” (Diario de Noticias) with Uefa’s decision to name Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir as the man in charge of tonight’s game.
Sources from the FPF say, "there were better candidates from countries that are already at home, but Uefa have chosen the latter, who is not the level of others, in fact much less."

Some areas of the Portuguese press have even leveled accusations of conspiracy against Uefa President Michel Platini. The Frenchman has made no secret of the fact that he would prefer the final to feature Spain and Germany and this has riled the Portuguese.

The Diario de Noticias highlighted the fact that during the match between Croatia and Spain, the Croatians should have been awarded two penalties, one five minutes from time. If they had converted both of them Spain would have been out of the Euros. This slice of luck certainly falls in line with “Platini’s plan”.

The newspaper pointed out that the president of UEFA's refereeing committee, Angel Villar, was also the head of the Spanish football federation and his vice-president Senes Erzik is Turkish and a "friend of Barcelona and Unicef".

A Bola claimed that as he still worked for Unicef he would have been involved in sponsorship negotiations between the UN child rights agency and Barcelona.

The Record newspaper added that the Portuguese football association was "not happy about the appointment of the Turkish referee", adding that the Selecao "feared behind-the-scenes shenanigans and the major influence of Angel Villar".

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viva ronaldo

I wouldn't be surprised if Portugal do it, it all depends on the coach Bento imo who rode his luck in the group stages

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nadal v ronaldo on bbc now

sick video

prob show it again later tonight

/

portugal need to score first imo

will be a very cagey game prob 1 goal in it

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Bento will try and contain Spain(will be super consertative)

I can see Veloso being exposed badly.

Pepe hasn't seen yellow so far but tonight he is surely to see red.

I would love Portugal to take the game to Spain and ask questions because their defence isn't great at all.

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Ronaldo, Moutinho and Nani will show up.

/

If Spain win Euros this year, Ballon D'or to Iniesta?

I can't see Messi getting it.

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Negredo starts...

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He'll be onto Alves in a flash.

Alves uses the ball sick.

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Pepe's only sending-off in La Liga in 2011/12 came after receiving a 2nd yellow for a foul on Negredo who starts for Spain

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Spain will win this IMO

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Don't think Spain have even been trying so far.

They can always step it up.

Want Portugal to win though

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want a portugal - italy final

but they will both prob go out

lol dixon just shut down shearer ahahaha

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ukraine <

should of just had it in poland

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Zidane is currently the last player to score a knock-out goal against Spain

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Either a tight win for Portugal or Spain with a piss take win by 3 goals it's overdue

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Veloso delivery technique>

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Spanish putting the press on the Spainards

Keown :/

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Does keown work on some freelance contract always see him on both bbc and espn.

Swear he still works with arsenal also

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Monkeys head is officially worse than Bright

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