World Cup Gp B 7:00pm Friday 15th June Fisht Olympic Stadium
Group B has a massive clash as Spain take on Euro 2016 winners Portugal.
Spain went all the way in 2010 for their first and only success in the quadrennial competition, while their opponents head into the tournament with their triumphant Euro 2016 campaign still fresh in the memory.
Just one day before the World Cup, Julen Lopetegui was sacked over the manner of his Real Madrid appointment and Fernando Hierro was appointed
“The players are excited, they want this challenge. It’s a challenge for everyone. We have no time to dwell,” he said.
“I know they’re going to give 100 per cent. In a World Cup nobody gives anything away. We all know what this means and our responsibilities.”, Spain new coach Fernando Hierro said
However, Spain’s managerial change will not affect their performance in their opening ‘Iberian derby’ match, Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos believes.
“It is Spain and Portugal,” he said. “Spain has played like that for 10 years, I don’t think there are going to be any surprises. What is important is the team that plays, and the strategy and no more than that.”
“Spain are fantastic opponents. They are highly qualified with a kind of game that has been consolidated over the years and (it) won’t change that radically.”
- Head to head
Neighbours Spain and Portugal has played each other 36 times, with Spain will exactly half with 18 victories.
Their recent record has been fairly even, with Portugal claiming two wins and Spain three. They have no played each other since Spain won 4-2 on penalties, after a goalless 120 minutes, in the Euro 2012 semi-finals.
- Match Statistics
Portugal and Spain’s only previous World Cup encounter was in 2010, with Spain winning 1-0 in the round of 16 thanks to a David Villa goal.
Portugal and Spain’s four encounters at major tournaments (World Cup + Euro) have produced only four goals.
Portugal will attempt to become the fourth nation to win back-to-back European Championship and World Cup tournaments after West Germany (Euro 1972, World Cup 1974), France (World Cup 1998, Euro 2000) and Spain (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012).
None of Spain’s last 14 games at the World Cup have ended in a draw (W10 L4). They’ve lost three of their last six group games (W3), after winning each of their previous seven.
Spain had the joint-best defensive record in the 2018 European World Cup qualifiers alongside England, conceding only three goals in 10 games. They were also one of four teams to remain unbeaten – along with Belgium, England and Germany – winning nine of their 10 games.
- Portugal possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Soares, Pepe, Fernandes, Guerreiro; B.Silva, Carvalho, Joao Mario, Martins; Ronaldo, Silva
- Spain possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Odriozola, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Alcantara, Busquets, Iniesta; Isco, Costa, Silva
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