Spain vs Portugal
There may be some clues for Euro 2020 fans to pick up this week, when two of the most fancied teams meet in a International Friendly: Spain vs Portugal.
La Roja held the European title in 2012, before handing it over to Portugal in 2016 and the near neighbours both have realistic hopes for the delayed 2020 competition. Some of the best players in world football will be on show at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid as they fine tune in preparation for the summer show.
Friendly games aren’t always the best entertainment, as anyone who watched Poland against Russia on Tuesday will testify! But these two nations have a fierce rivalry and with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Gerard Moreno and Jordi Alba likely to feature, the Spain vs Portugal highlights will always be worth a watch.
Spain’s Premier quality
La Roja began their World Cup qualification with a 1-1 draw with Greece before beating Georgia and Kosovo. Goals from Red Bull Leipzig’s Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres and Gerard gave Luis Enrique’s side all three points against Kosovo.
The Spain Euro 2020 squad has a healthy smattering of Premier League players with Manchester United keeper David de Gea likely to hold the number one spot, while Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte has switched allegiance from France and he will be joined by club mates Torres, Eric Garcia and Rodri.
La Liga provides the Barcelona trio of Busquets, Pedri and Jordi Alba, while Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente could feature in support of Villarreal’s Gerard up front. The Yellow Submarine won the Europa League a week ago when Gerard gave them a lead over Manchester United before an epic penalty shoot out eventually decided matters, Villarreal winning 11-10 after De Gea watched his spot kick being saved.
Portugal prepare for Group of Death
The Selecao has also picked up seven points from its opening three World Cup qualifiers with two wins while drawing with Serbia, and they too come into this match on the back of a 3-1 victory, over ten man Luxembourg. Liverpool striker Diogo Jota was on target before Ronaldo made it two and Sporting midfielder Joao Paulinha added a third before the minnows scored a consolation goal and had a player sent off.
When the draw for Euro 2020 was made the four teams making up Group F stole the headlines, as a very decent Hungary side was thrown into a group with World Champions France, 2014 World Champions Germany and Portugal. With Les Bleus favourites to win the tournament it looks likely that Portugal will be vying with Germany for the second place. So this warm-up match against Spain is the perfect test for the Selecao as they prepare to do battle at the Euros. The latest Spain vs Portugal betting odds have the hosts as slight favourites, but Portugal head coach Fernando Santos arguably has a better squad than the one which lifted the European title in 2016.
The talented Manchester City trio of Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva, like their Spanish team-mates, will be keen to cast off Champions League disappointment, by enjoying a successful summer. The Sky Blues were hot favourites to win the Champions League after dismantling Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final, but they didn’t turn up in the final against Chelsea and lost 1-0. Dias, in particular has had a brilliant first season at the Etihad, helping the Sky Blues to a comfortable Premier League triumph.
Wolves will provide four players for the Portugal squad. With 92 caps goalkeeper Rui Patricio is a sure starter at the Euros, while Nelson Semedo, Joao Mourinho and Ruben Neves will hope to play some part. Eintracht’s Andre Silva has had a great season finishing with 28 league goals as the Bundesliga’s second top scorer, behind only Robert Lewandowski and ahead of the highly rated Erling Braut Haaland, while Bruno Fernandes has carried Manchester United for much of their season.
And then, of course, there is Juventus superstar and Portugal Legend Cristiano Ronaldo, hoping to add to his 103 international goals and 173 appearances!
La Roja have held the upper hand in the head to head meetings between these two neighbours, winning 17 of the last 37 encounters, drawing 14 and losing just six.
Spain and Portugal last came into contact in a friendly in 2020 which ended in a 0-0 draw. Both teams come into the game with three wins from the last five, and we can surely look forward to a competitive clash in Madrid.
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