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Euro 2012: Spain v Portugal live blog

by Rob Dore | June 27, 2012

They live right next door to each other so there’s a bit of a rivalry and they’ve played each other more than they’ve played any other international side. 34 times to be exact(ish). Spain are well on top with 16 wins to Portugal’s six. However Portugal are the last team to beat Spain in a European Championship, in Euro 2004.

This is the not-so-classic case of the collective against the individual, with Spain being the ultimate footballing side, a team of technically gifted players with Portugal being reliant on the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s been right on form so far in the tournament and looks to be improving as things progress. If Portugal are to achieve an upset and knock out the favourites then Crist’ will need to be all mighty.

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Final Score: Spain 0 – 0 Portugal (Spain win on penalties) Donbass Arena, Donetsk

Final: Again they weren’t convincing but Spain deserved to edge out a valiantly resilient Portugal and qualify for the final, where they await one of Germany or Italy in Kiev on Sunday night.
Can they become the first country to win three major international tournaments in a row?

Spain Kick 5: Fabregas scores…just. Spain win 4-2 and the champions move on to the final.

Portugal Kick 4: Alves hits the underside of the crossbar. Spain lead 3-2.

Spain Kick 4: Ramos does a Panenka. Cheeky. Spain lead 3-2.

Portugal Kick 3: Nani scores. 2-2.

Spain Kick 3: Pique scores. Spain lead 2-1.

Portugal Kick 2: Pepe slots it home. 1-1

Spain Kick 2: Iniesta scores. Spain lead 1-0

Portugal Kick 1: Moutinho stutters and Casillas saves.

Spain Kick 1: Alonso has his shot saved.

22.20: Spain to take the first kick.

22.18: Iker Cassilas saved two penalties against Ireland in the 2006 World Cup last 16, another two against Italy at the same stage in Euro 2008 and he saved one against Paraguay in the 2010 World Cup. Again at the quarter-final stage.

To qualify for the next round: Spain 5/6, Portugal 5/6

Final Whistle: Penalties here we come!!!

22.11: Alba gets down the line and puts in a good cross. Not for the first time Pepe gets across to snuff out the danger. Both sides have been excellent at the back in this game.

22.10: Just 3 minutes to go. Spain have dominated extra-time but haven’t been able to find a way through a resolute and well organised Portugal.

22.07: Fabregas puts Pedro thorough but Moutinho and Coentrao get back to clear the danger.

22.06: Alonso goes in the book for hacking down Ronaldo.

22.05 Portugal make their last change. Meireles is off for the attack-minded Varela. He has 7 minutes.

To qualify in a penalty shoot-out: Spain 6/5, Portugal 5/4

22.03: Ronaldo has worked hard but he hasn’t done anything special over 110 minutes. Cristiano your country needs you.

21.59: The second-half of extra-time kicks off. Portugal have one more sub to use. Quaresma anyone? No, I don’t blame you.

21.58: Spain have looked the better side since the final whistle. Portugal make just their second substitution bringing on Custodio to replace the tiring Veloso in the defensive midfield roll.

21.57: Ramos of all people goes very close with the last kick of the first half of extra-time. Closer than Ronaldo has managed with any of his efforts.

21.54: Alba plays Iniesta in on goal and Rui Patricio makes a fantastic finger-tip save.

21.52: Spain must have been practising their penalties because they don’t appear to be playing with any great degree of urgency.

21.49: Pedro gets flattened by Pepe and is now lying prostrate in the Portugal. It wasn’t a foul, just a good hard smashing.

21.47: Spain have looked a tad sharper in the first period of extra-time but this has penalties written all over it. Both teams are 17/10 to qualify via a shoot-out.

21.41: Spain have the first attack of ET. Navas puts a low ball in to Fabregas but Alves gets a foot in. It’s all about grit, determination and luck at this point.

Extra-time Betting: Portugal 9/2, Spain 21/10, Draw 21/10

Full-time: the games ends all square. Portugal faded a little in the second-half but Spain looked to lack the energy to take advantage. There’ll be some serious cramping over the next 30 minutes.

21.34: We’re in to injury time and Alonso puts in a poor corner which floats all the way to Iniesta on the far sideline. Extra-time it is so.

21.33: Navas threatens to get inside Coentrao but the full-back makes a fine challenge.

21.32: Raul Meireles breaks as Portugal are 4 on 3. He puts the ball just behind Ronaldo and his subsequent shot is well over. A good chance for Portugal to win at the death.

21.28: Xavi goes off to be replaced by Pedro as Spain make their last change of the game. Poor Fernando.

21.28: Bruno Alves goes in the book for hacking down Fabregas near the half-way line.

21.25: Ronaldo smashes a free-kick from 30 yeards which hits the wall. Arbeloa is booked for blocking it with his hand. He gets another go from closer in. And puts it over again. Not a mile away but Casillas didn’t bother to dive for it.

21.23: The frankly useless Almeida is replaced by the nippy Oliveira for Portugal.

Live Prices: Spain 10/3, Portugal 7/1, Draw 3/10

21.19: A bit of a stalemate at the moment as Spain pass the ball around without too much incision in to the Portugal backline. A speculative effort from Fabregas goes well over. This is starting to look like a draw and a late night.

21.14: Ronaldo takes on a free-kick from about 30 yards out. He gets it close enough but it zips comfortably over Casillas’ bar.

The score the 1st goal: Portugal 11/8, Spain 8/15

21.11: Portugal are the ones starting to look tired, making more mistakes than the first half. This is allowing Spain more time on the ball. Almeida has been pants all game and I’m not talking Paddy Power lucky pants.

21.08: The game has slowed down in the second half. We are in dire need of a goal. Alonso tries one from his own half. It’s nowhere close. Spain get the ball back immediately and Xavi fires a solid shot on goal but Rui Patricio saves comfortably.

21.06: Perreira pulls down Fabregas on the edge of the Portuguese box and is booked for the privilege. Veloso heads the free-kick away. Good ball, great clearance.

21.02: Navas is on for Silva and Pepe joins Ramos in the book for kneeing Alonso in the back. I tipped that one up too.

21.01: Ronaldo goes down in the box after being eased off the ball by Ramos. Not a penalty but Busguets goes in the book for demanding the ref book Ronaldo. Damn right.

21.00: hugo Almeida has a shot from out wide. Pique didn’t bother closing him down and the lumbering forward smashes it well wide.

20.58: Some bullish work from Coentrao wins Portugal a corner but it’s a rubbish one. Flatter than Fearne Cotton it was.

20.56: Del Bosque admits defeat with his crazy striker experiment. Negredo goes off to be replaced by Cesc Fabregas.

20.53: Some good play between Silva and Arbeloa down the right. A great ball in is dealt with by Perreira. Portugal look comfortable at the back.

20.51: Nani puts a decent ball in to the box but Almeida fails to make a real effort to get to it. He’s not the most aggressive of front men. Or the best of headers for such a big fella.

20.48: the second-half has kicked off. Will Spain change their game-plan?

Here’s a picture of Ronaldo’s girlfriend. No real context or reason. You’re welcome.

Half-time: There hasn’t been too many decent chances but it has been an interesting back and forth affair. Spain are struggling to get going as Portugal work hard to prevent Xavi and Iniesta from getting on the ball. The men in white look fresher though Almeida looks pretty useless up front. His best work of the half was a headed clearance in his own box.

20.32: The first half comes to an end with nothing between the sides. Coentrao was booked just before the end for mouthing off to the linesman.

20.30: Perreira stops Alba in his tracks as Spain struggle to get their passing game going. They’re starting to look a little tired already.

20.28: “He’s 6’3 but jumps 5’3..” Ray is not loving Almeida.

20.26: Sergio Ramos is booked for checking Ronaldo on the half-way line. He was 13/8 to be booked any time before the game began. A bet I tipped up in my preview. Along with about a hundred other bets but still. Small victories and all that.

20.22: A harsh free given against Bruno Alves. There’s been a slight pro-Spain leaning from the officials so far.

20.20: If Spain are struggling with tiredness at all we’ll really see the effects in the second half. Portugal are making them work hard and the odd crack is showing. Nani is currently down on the ground for no real reason.

20.16: Moutinho wins the ball back just outside the Spanish box, he feeds it on to Ronaldo whose shot is just wide.

20.15: Nani is fouled, DOESN’T go down but the referee refuses to let him play on. Poor decision.

20.14: Negredo gets involved for the first time, holding the ball up in the box. He shifts it on to Xavi, then on to Iniesta who curls a shot a few feet over the bar.

20.11: Portugal are working hard to get the ball back and have been enjoying some good attacking spells of their own. This time a poor cross from Pereira brings the move to an end.

20.09: Ronaldo slashes at one on the turn from just outside the box. High and none too handsome. Almeida looks a poor player so far and Negredo has done bugger all.

20.07: Spain enjoying some spells of possession. Portugal enjoying smashing in to them at every opportunity.

20.05: Nani is body checked by Ramos as he threatens to run through on goal and gets nothing. Poor refereeing on first look.

20.04: Hugo almeida ‘doesn’t jump his height’ says Ray Houghton. I get what you mean. I think.

20.02: Ronaldo’s free-kick goes straight at the wall but Coentrao wins a corner.

20.01: Ronaldo takes on Spain again and wins a free-kick outside the Spanish box.

19.58: Ronaldo goes on a strong run, gets to the byline and puts a decent cross in. A little to high for Nani though and Casillas collects. Shamon.

19.56: Coentrao has impressed in this tournament, even if he does look like an extra from Miami Vice.

19.54: Iniesta works his way in to the box with some great passing, he lays it on to Negredo who loses possession. the ball then breaks to Arbeloa who puts it over the bar from 12 yards out. Should have been on target that one.

19.53: Spain get their first spell of possession but it’s at the half-way line. Portugal are cleverly playing high up the pitch with lots of pressure on the ball.

19.49: Negredo gets his first touch and is duly dispossessed by Pepe.

19.47: It’s been all Portugal in the first 80 seconds. They win the first corner of the game after Veloso’s shot is deflected wide. The corner is a good one and Casillas has to push it over.

Kick-off

19.44: Ray Houghton has just jinxed the game by suggesting it could be the game of the tournament. 0-0 is 6/1.

19.43: The anthems are over. What’s this? The captains are being forced to give a speech right before kick-off? Respect the goddamn game UEFA. Get some suit to do this kind of thing, these finely honed athletes need to be in the zone right now.

19.41: The last time these two sides met Portugal won 4-0. It was a friendly and a repeat tonight is unlikely. But then how many unlikely results have you seen in your lifetime? Portugal to win 4-0 is 325/1.

Another picture of Nani relaxing before the game. (He looks like 1980s Michael Jackson is what we’re saying)

19.30: Will Negredo make a difference for Spain? Or will he do a similar job to Torres, lots of running around, some poor touches and being off-side most of the time? Spain have won every game in which Negredo has scored in to date.

19.29: Spain are 19/20 to win in 90 minutes and 1/3 to qualify.

19.28: Less than 20 minutes to go and Portugal are 7/2 to win in 90 minutes and 7/4 to qualify by any means necessary

19.18: Statler, Waldorf and Brady are full of praise for Ronaldo in the RTE studio. He is of course one dive away from a royal slating but this kind of positivity from the men in grey is refreshing.

19.14: BBC have gone for a depressing look back at England’s penalty shoot-out loss so it’s over to RTE for the rest of the build up. All yellow cards have been wiped for this game so expect Ronaldo to get a good aul kicking from the Spanish backline.

Nani looking particularly relaxed ahead of tonight’s game.

19.06: Portugal’s best chance is to have a go at Spain, as opposed to not having a go at them. This is the expert insight offered by Alan Hansen on BBC. Well, insight is a bit of a stretch.

19.05: Apparently Spain have made twice as many passes as Portugal in this tournament so far. 2797 to Portugal’s 1476. That trend may well continue in this game but that won’t necessarily mean Spain will have a comfortable time of it.

Torres is shocked to discover Negredo starts ahead of him.

18.49: Evening all. Let’s get going with the news that Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque has decided to start with an actual striker, and it’s not Torres. Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo gets the nod ahead of the unfancied Chelsea man. Negredo has 6 goals in his 11 international appearances and he’s 6/1 to score first tonight.

Teams

Spain
Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Piqué, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Negredo

Portugal
Rui Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Coentrao, Joao Pereira, Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, Almeida

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