Euro2012 – Portugal vs Spain – Iberian derby
By David, bettingexpert.com | Published
A derby within a derby with Ronaldo facing up against a number of Barcelona players teamed up with a number of his own teammates at Real Madrid. Is he really that bright a star that he can overcome the players with whom he collects trophies at club level? He won’t be alone in this one but much is expected out of him if Portugal are to beat the favourites.
Portugal – Spain Odds: Euro 2012
On the right are odds for the match between the Portugal and Spain, which will remain visible right until kick off.
Portugal – Spain Preview: Euro 2012
The Iberian peninsula has notoriously given birth to a continuous flow of talented players with, in terms of quantity, probably an unrivalled amount of technically gifted players. What a straight forward analysis of this match would predict will be a very rich game with quality reigning supreme. Tactics, however, have made their way deep into the game of football these days and even a game like this one can downgrade expectations on the kind of entertainment we should be prepared for.
Paulo Bento, Portugal’s manager, has been the most astute in utilizing tactics to overcome flaws in his team. Defensively they have notoriously been weak but with a very disciplined approach to the game he has managed to limit damages at the back. Breaking them down has proven difficult for a number of teams this summer, although they did cave in when pressure levels increased in the must-win match against Denmark.
From then onwards Ronaldo’s qualities kicked in and in the subsequent two matches he has served his team very well.
Bento’s game relies a lot on forward runs from the strikers. The true striker keeps defenders occupied whilst on the flanks, Nani and especially Ronaldo, break the offside trap to come one on one against the goalkeeper, receiving the excellent passes from the three midfield players instructed to set them up.
Getting enough of the ball to be able to set up Ronaldo will be very difficult this time around for Portugal. In this sense the injury to Postiga may be a blessing in disguise as the height of Almeida or Varela, as opposed to Postiga’s, might provide an additional solution against a defence which itself has not proven very good at dealing with aerial dangers.
The good feet of the Portugal midfielders might also help attenuate the possession figures raked up by Spain in other matches. The level is not as high and neither are the Portugal midfielders used to that kind of football anyway so Spain should still enjoy the majority of possession. Possession which is, however, more often than not sterile. For the number of minutes they hold on to the ball they really create too little. Del Bosque would like to have enough time for this team to get out of it what Barcelona manage to but he really does not. At least the opponent is not seeing enough of the ball to create chances either.
Portugal – Spain injury news: Euro 2012
Hugo Almeida will be the most likely substitute but even Olivera or Varela can be candidates. It is the only change Paulo Bento will be forced into making ahead of this match after his starting striker Helder Postiga was ruled out through injury. Spain will be at full strength but it is still unclear whether Del Bosque will opt for Fabregas or Torres in attack. Most likely it will be the former.
Portugal – Spain Betting: Euro 2012
A lot of technique and class involved in this match but more probably it will all be overshadowed by tactics and slight fear at losing it all when being just one step from the final. Bento will push on his defensive tactics and Spain’s possession game will make sure the ball circulates primarily in midfield rather than close to the box.
Portugal’s direct style of play, with midfielders playing vertical passes upfront as forwards cut in to receive and face the opposition’s goalkeeper, does constitute an antidote to Spain’s game in theory. The defensive setup makes it difficult for any team to break through as well, even for Spain.
Not conceding the first goal but actually scoring first will be key to shift things around and get the psychological advantage. Bento knows that and will insist on a very cautious approach.
Verdict: Under 2.5
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