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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SPAIN vs PORTUGAL >>> Maqtch Preview


Set to take centre stage in Cape Town on 29 June is a glittering Round of 16 clash between two neighbours and contenders for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ crown: Spain and Portugal. Standing second and third respectively in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, the eagerly anticipated encounter between the Iberian duo at the Green Point Stadium is the sides’ first meeting at world football’s top table. Expectations are extremely high ahead of the last-16 meeting between two teams considered among the pre-tournament contenders for the coveted Trophy. And with La Roja and A Selecção das Quinas both having had to come through a gruelling group phase, one of the fancied pair will be heading home much earlier than expected.

European champions Spain arrived at South Africa 2010 as firm favourites for the world title along with Brazil, though Vicente del Bosque’s team were given a harsh wake-up call in an opening 1-0 defeat against Switzerland. Showing their mettle, La Selección gritted their teeth and won their next two Group H games against Honduras and Chile to qualify in top spot in their section and avoid a last-16 meeting with Dunga’s charges.

Portugal, for their part, safely negotiated a fiercely competitive Group G also containing Côte d’Ivoire, Korea DPR and Brazil.
"Without showing them a lack of respect, we're not scared at all," said the Atletico Madrid star. We've got a great team too. And to become better, we have to beat Spain. They're champions of Europe, but we have our own qualities."

Carlos Queiroz’s solid side played out a goalless opening draw with Didier Drogba and Co before cutting loose in a 7-0 success over the North Koreans. Following that goalfest, another scoreless draw in their final game against the five-time world champions was enough to secure second spot and a place in the knockout stages.

Both coaches have near-to-full-strength squads from which to choose, though former Real Madrid boss Del Bosque will be without key midfielder Xabi Alonso and defender Raul Albiol. Opposite number Queiroz, who also once held the reins at Los Merengues, welcomes back midfield schemer Deco though cannot call upon the versatile Ruben Amorim.

Portugal have now kept a clean sheet in 22 of their last 26 internationals and these tactics are likely to be used again to counter the threat of Fernando Torres and the in-form David Villa, who has already scored three goals. Coach Carlos Queiroz warned though that statistics meant little in knockout football. "We can't go into the round of 16 simply on reputation or statistics. The players now have to deliver the goods," he said.

Key battle : David Villa v Cristiano Ronaldo
The Spanish striker’s three-goal haul so far at South Africa 2010 has taken his tally at FIFA World Cups to six in total, making Barcelona’s new signing his country’s highest ever scorer in the competition. The flying Portuguese winger, for his part, has struck just once to date in South Africa despite claiming the Budweiser Man of the Match award in each of his side’s three matches. The Real Madrid forward needed a total of 17 shots to score his solitary goal, which came in the demolition of Korea DPR, though Ronaldo can count himself unfortunate to have been denied by the woodwork on two occasions already.
Portugal have a reputation as an obdurate and organised side under Queiroz, and while that tactic may work against many teams, an opponent like Spain will pick you off with their undoubted talent to unlock the most unyielding defence.
For Portugal die-hards, evermore confident with zero game loss nor a goal conceded so far in South Africa.
Even the much heralded Brazilians failed to score against Cristiano Ronaldo and his miserly defenders.
But games are won by goals scored and this is where the Spaniards have the cutting edge.
A game for footie purists.
Take SPAIN give 1/2 goal >>> PORTUGAL (Main Bet)
Take a 90 minutes Normal Time DRAW (Small Side Bet Insurance)

Odds Centre >>> http://www.asianbookie.com/

PORTUGAL are not ranked #3 behind Spain becoz they have glamour boy Cristiano Ronaldo. These Portugese are ranked third becoz they play good football.
No, make that great football :P

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