The second day of the 2018 Football World Cup will host the highly anticipated match between two giants of the footballing world: Portugal and Spain. The 2010 Football World Cup Champions and the current European Champions will face off in Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
The Group B favorites, Portugal and Spain, will start the tournament with their toughest group match against each other. Therefore, the team that loses this match will have a tough time for the rest of the tournament. On the other hand, the victor will have proved their strength and it will give them a massive boost for upcoming matches.
The 2014 World Cup openers for Spain and Portugal were a legitimate nightmarish start to a failed campaign for both. Portugal was eliminated in group stage after facing Germany in the opener. Germany scored 4 goals and conceded none in a crushing victory against Portugal’s opening match.
Likewise, Spain could not have asked for a worse start to their previous World Cup campaign. The La Furia Roja were comprehensively defeated by Netherlands in the opening match with the scorecard reading 1-5. Spain were eliminated at the group stage in a surprising upset.
The Iberian Rivalry: History and Stats
The match between Portugal and Spain is the only group match between true long-standing rivals. The teams have only met once in World Cup finals, which was in 2010. This match took place in the Round of 16 and Spain beat Portugal 1-0.
Overall, Portugal and Spain have played 35 international matches against each other. Spain has a dominating record against Portugal with 17 wins, 5 losses, and 12 draws. The last encounter on a major international tournament between the rivals was in the semi-final of 2012 Euro. Spain won this match 4-2 on penalty shootouts.
Previously, the rivals have met in the UEFA Euro 1984 and UEFA Euro 2004. The teams met in the group stage on the former occasion and drew the match 1-1. On the latter occasion, Portugal secured their first victory in an international tournament against Spain, beating them by 0-1.
Portugal will surely be looking for a revenge against Spain for their recent defeat in Euro 2012 semi-final. However, the current form of Spain is formidable as they beat Argentina with a thrashing 6-1 in a recent international friendly. In contrast, Portugal barely managed to win the Euro 2016 and it will take a special performance to beat Spain come Friday.
Expected Starting XI
Both Spain and Portugal have some of the most famous stars of the football world. The likely starting lineup of each time is:
de Gea – Alaba, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Azpilicueta – Thiago, Busquets, Iniesta – Isco, Silva – Diego Costa
Head coach: Julen Lopetegui
Patrício – Guerreiro, Alves, Pepe, Soares – Carvalho, Moutinho – Fernandes, Bernardo Silva – Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo
Head Coach: Fernando Santos
Players to Watch Out For
- Cristiano Ronaldo. All eyes will be on CR7, who is in the peak form of his life going into the World Cup. Portugal heavily depend on Ronaldo’s form and performances for keeping their World Cup dream alive.
- Iniesta. The Spanish legend will be playing the final tournament of his life. The role of Iniesta has always been crucial in the Spanish team with his outstanding vision and playmaking abilities. It will surely be sad watching this great player making his last few appearances on the football field.
- Sergio Ramos. The center-back has recently been the target of criticism for his rash performance against Liverpool in the Champions League final. However, Ramos has a reputation for scoring goals in critical situations and Spain just might need similar antics against Portugal.
How to Watch Portugal vs. Spain Live
The Portugal vs. Spain match will take place on June 15, Friday, 21:00 local time. Fans can watch the rivals go head-to-head on the following official Football broadcasters:
|United States||Telemundo, Fox|
|United Kingdom||BBC One|
|Canada||The Sports Network 4, RDS, The Sports Network 5|
|France||TF1, BeIN Sport 1, BeIN Sport 2|
|Germany||Sky Sport UHD, Das Erste|
|Australia||Optus Sport, SBS 1|
However, these channels are geo-restricted and their streams will only be accessible to people from within the broadcaster’s company. If you want to access live streams of these channels from a different country, you will need a VPN service. Find out how to watch 2018 Football World Cup live online.
The Group B favorites, Portugal and Spain, will start their World Cup journey on 15th June, when they resume their rivalry. Portugal will likely offer a good fight to Spain, but the final outcome of the match is forecasted to be in Spain’s favor.
Regardless, this is a match not to be missed by football fans as some of the world’s best players will be seen in action.
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