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The Iberian battle: Portugal V/s Spain , 1st semi-final

It’s a fight of Iberia, the southern European peninsula. Spain and Portugal are familiar with each other’s game as well as team. It will be a classic contest with all Iberian the flair on display.

Portugal
Portugal has advanced to semi-finals with some determined football, banking on their two brilliant wingers Nani and Ronaldo. Against Germany in their first game they had 7 Shots on target to germany’s 4 and won 11 corners to Germany’s 2.They are not that dependent on Ronaldo as people might assume. They have some very good players who supplement Ronaldo’s overall game.

Portugal as a side seems to be set up for an ideal counter attacking game. They have Miereles as defensive midfielder, who comes forward time and again for assisting attack. Moutinho who provided the assist for ronaldo’s superb header against Czech has been their midfield work horse.

Their only frailty lies in lacking a genuine striker, who can hold the odd ball and score some goals. But they try to compensate with making Ronaldo as their target man, who interchanges from being a winger to a forward throughout the match.

Other strong reason for Portugal’s advance to semifinals has been the performances of their centerbacks Bruno Alves And Pepe. This defence pairing allowed only two goals attempts by Czech in their quarterfinal encounter. Pepe is master of interceptions and an expert at disrupting opposition’s play, and will be required to be at his best against hugely talented Spanish midfield.

Spain :
Spain along with Germany have been the tournament favourites .They have won 16 of their last 17 competitive games. Such is their bench strength that could have fielded two sides and probably both have reached semi-finals. If Spain win this Euro , they will become the first side to win back to back Euro , world cup and Euro championship. This Spanish has changed the dynamics of football as a game. They have been criticized for playing a boring Barcelona style possession football in this tournament, but what may look boring to their critics has given huge consistency to their performance.

They play like a Barcelona side without Messi, with Fabregas doing the duty of a false 9.Its not just their domination of the midfield , it’s how they do it. They frustrate the opposing teams leading to frequent tackles against them. A goal can come from anywhere, they have had nine different scorers in last 9 games. This speaks a lot about their talent base.

Whereas other sides bank on one or two playmakers, they have four. Fabregas ,Silva ,Iniesta and Xavi in advance midfield along with Alonso and Busqets as Defensive midfielders makes for a very threatening attack even without a striker.

They cannot be too complacent against this Portugal side .Although the Spain will not tinker with their overall strategy but coach Vincent has to make some allowances for Ronaldo and Nani’s outbursts from midfield.

It should be an exciting match and with one of the Europe’s two best sides on display.

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