The World Cup couldn’t have started any better! The mighty hosts Russia dominated Saudi Arabia in the opening game and came out 5-0 winners with Alexander Golovin making the headlines for his brilliant display involving a goal and two assists.
That was some start to the tournament and we are definitely in for more on the second day of the tournament when Portugal and Spain will be on show.
Russia vs. Saudi Arabia
Most assists: Golovin (2) Most tackles in opp’s half: Golovin (3) Most crosses: Golovin (5) Most chances created: Golovin (5) pic.twitter.com/G2MnceAI3c
While Portugal sit fourth and Spain are Eighth in the FIFA rankings, it is safe to say there will be fireworks.
But the situation isn’t too pretty for both the teams. The sacking of Spain coach Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday, just 2 days before their opening game, sent shockwaves across the footballing world and 4 players who are in the Portugal squad have cancelled their contracts at Sporting Lisbon.
Even though there are no fresh injury concerns and both teams have a fully fit squad at their disposal, there will be a sense of anxiety among both of them tonight during the Portugal Vs Spain game.
Let us look at the team news and some of the key players for the Portugal Vs Spain clash.
Last time these two sides met in Euro 2012 semi final, it ended in a victory for Spain via penalties and the 2016 Euro winners will be up and running to avenge that defeat in tonight’s Portugal Vs Spain clash.
The 2016 Euro winners will have a fully fit squad led by Ronaldo from the front. They have Pepe and Fonte in defense with the mighty William Carvalho and Moutinho in holding the midfield for the Selecção das Quinas.
Ronaldo might be paired with Bernardo for finding the back of the net. But it won’t be easy for them against the likes of Pique and Ramos pairing up in defense for Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
The Real Madrid man needs no introduction. He has been absolutely sensational for club and country throughout the years. The Portuguese has scored 81 goals in 150 International games with 15 of them coming en route to this competition.
He can be considered as the most important piece in the Portugal team and if they are to beat the La Roja, Ronaldo needs to deliver against his club-mate, Ramos and company.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
The Portuguese joined Manchester City last summer and has been one of the most salient members for the team in midfield as they lifted the Premier League Title this year.
Silva scored 6 goals for City in his debut season and has a knack of scoring timely goals for his team. The 23 year-old midfielder excelled at Monaco during the earlier stages of his career and will be up and running to make his mark on the biggest stage of football having being paired alongside Ronaldo for tonight’s Portugal Vs Spain clash.
Fresh from the sacking of their manager, there will be mixed feelings amongst the camp but they know they can’t let this affect their game. Diego Costa will be the first choice striker for new Spain manager Hierro while we can see the Pique-Ramos pairing up in defense for tonight’s Portugal Vs Spain tie.
Sergio Busquets will be there in front of the back four while Iniesta, Isco and Silva will need to create chances for La Roja.
We can see Fernando Hierro bringing in Alvaro Adriozola in place of Dani Carvajal who might be a doubt for this clash while Jordi Alba holds his place in the team.
Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
The former Chelsea man is always in the headlines for something or the other. The forward previously scored 52 goals in 89 appearances for Chelsea in 3 years before moving back to Spain at Atletico Madrid.
He was influential in their run to the Europa League title this season and eventually won it with the Los Rojiblancos and will be leading from the front for Spain in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia especially for the Portugal Vs Spain tie.
David Silva (Manchester City)
Well, the Manchester City star has been ever present whenever we talk about Spain be it the U-16 or the Senior team. Silva has always been there to provide his creativity in the middle of the park. He has 35 goals in over 120 apps for his country which demonstrates his stature and importance.
When deployed alongside Andres Iniesta, they both can wreck havoc in the opposition defense with their skills and out-of-the-world passes, the glimpses of which we have seen earlier World Cups and Euro Cups.
It will finally boil down to the performances of Ronaldo and Costa, not to forget how they get supplies from their midfield department, but after analysing all factors, my mind is tilting towards a 2-1 victory for Ramos and co for tonight’s big clash of Portugal Vs Spain.
Keep following Arsedevils for more updates and news on the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia.