Preview: Portugal vs Spain, Who will emerge triumphant in this highly anticipated friendly?
An excellent domestic football season comes to an end, and it’s now time to turn our eyes towards international football. And what better way to kick things off than with the Iberian Derby? Portugal and Spain will face off in a highly anticipated international friendly encounter on Friday in the run-up to the rescheduled Euro 2020.
Both sides are loaded and have a wonderful mixture of well-known players in all lines, with solidity at the back and skill and flair further forward.
Portugal heads into this game off a 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Luxembourg two months ago. Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Palhinha each scored one goal to earn a victory over Luxembourg. Portugal leads Group A in the World Cup 2022 qualifications and is yet to lose a match after three games with two wins and one draw under their belt.
Portugal will be unable to defend their 2019 UEFA Nations League title after finishing second in their group behind France. Nonetheless, they have a solid team and thus have an excellent chance of defending their Euro 2016 triumph at Euro 2020 with Ronaldo leading the pack.
Spain, on the other hand, has been a well-oiled machine under Luis Enrique. They are on a roll right now, with a string of consistently solid performances. This includes a 6-0 hammering of Germany in the UEFA Nations League group stage by Luis Enrique’s men. After finishing first in their group, they will meet Italy in the Nations League semifinals in October.
La Roja has struggled to make an impression in key international events after winning Euro 2012. Spain was unable to defend its European Championship from 2012, as they were ousted in the Euro 2016 Round of 16 by Italy.
They were also knocked out in the Round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup by the hosts, Russia. Although the golden generation of Spanish football is long gone, this Spain squad is full of promising young players with the potential to be great in the future and would be looking forward to showing out in this summer European Championship, but first they must overcome a difficult test against Portugal.
Portugal has no current injuries and suspensions.
Portugal Probable Lineup: Lopes; Cancelo; Pepe; Fonte; Mendes; Danilo; Fernandes; Moutinho; Jota; Felix; Ronaldo
Spain also does not have any injuries or suspensions
Spain Probable Lineup: Sanchez; M. Llorente; Garcia; P. Torres; Alba; Busquets; Pedri; Koke; F. Torres; Oyarzabal; Moreno
Everyone is aware that Ronaldo has changed and matured. He has reinvented himself as he has gotten older, maximising his instincts within the box while being a physical phenomenon and a passionate warrior. The man has shown no signs to stop and is still one of the best players in the world. He finished as the top scorer in Serie A with 29 goals.
Despite being less aggressive like in the past, the Juventus man is a predator who recognises space and opportunity, and he is getting better without the ball every day in order to be more influential.
Oyarzabal, La Joya de La Real Sociedad, is a delight to see at the age of 24. He personifies the contemporary Spanish winger. He doesn’t have blazing speed or a one-of-a-kind skill, but his furious agility and continual desire to sprint into half-spaces make him a highly flexible attacker.
The left-footed athlete has frequently said that he prefers to play as an attacking midfielder in the middle lane. Despite this, he is used as a left-winger. His relentless manoeuvres and persistent flanking to draw defences open make him a decisive attacking force and can act as game changers for Spain.
With both nations being two of the favourites to do well this summer, it might be an interesting tussle to watch who reveals their cards this Friday. Both Spain and Portugal are well-balanced, featuring one of the finest players in each position.
The Iberian Derby is one of the world’s oldest international rivalries, and it is held in high regard. Since both sides will give their best, FootTheBall predicts a 2-2 draw between the two nations.