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World Cup Opening Weekend: Portugal vs Spain

Portugal vs Spain
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We look forward to one of the tastiest fixtures that the 2018 World Cup group stages have to offer… Portugal vs Spain, 15th June, 19:00 GMT (Fisht Olympic Stadium)

 When it comes to international football rivalries, it doesn’t get much bigger than Portugal vs Spain. Whilst we’re not blessed with an opening fixture to accompany the ceremony of that weekend on the grandeur of Brazil vs Croatia like we had in 2014, there’s no need to fear! On Friday 15th June (the second day of the tournament) at 7 pm, we see former World Cup winners Spain take on reigning Euro champions Portugal.  A fixture with plenty of history, trophy winners, and star-studded squads.

It began on 18th December 1921, when Portugal lost 3-1 to Spain at Madrid in their first ever international friendly game. Portugal lost their first matches, with their first draw (2-2) only coming in 1926. Portugal’s first win came much later (a 4-1 thumping) in 1947.

Talking of history, let’s take a peek at the all-time record, shall we?

They’ve met a total of 36 times (of which 8 matches were competitive, this fixture surely is a gem), which resulted in 18 victories for Spain, 12 draws, and 6 victories for Portugal.

History is clearly on the side of La Furia Roja (the Red Fury, that’s Spain by the way). But as Man City fans would tell you – ‘We’re all about making history’. According to the official FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, we see Portugal sat high up the charts at 4th, with Spain down at a meagre 8th place. Oh, how the tables turn!

In our opinion that’s all down to the star players, let’s take a peek at three from each side to compare (because we love a side-by-side comparison).

 

PORTUGAL

THE STAR MAN

Cristiano Ronaldo

International Caps: 149

International Goals: 81

CR7, the man needs almost no introduction. Portugal’s most capped player and Portugal’s top scorer of all time. ‘nuff said.

 

 

THE STEADY BET

Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha… (Or to you and me, Nani)

International Caps: 112

International Goals: 24

Nani has represented Portugal at four major tournaments, including three European championships: a crucial figure in the winning tournament of 2016, and still looking the part at 31 years of age.

 

THE ONE TO LOOK OUT FOR

André Silva

International Caps: 20

International Goals: 11

An impressive haul of goals from the 22-year-old, André has represented Portugal at various youth levels and was part of the senior squad that came third in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

 

SPAIN

THE STAR MAN

David De Gea

International Caps: 27

International Goals: 0 *We will let him off on that one.

De Gea has emerged as one of the best Goalkeepers in Europe and has become a household name having made over 300 appearances for Manchester United. He’s in the form of his life and has helped the Red Devils achieve the highest number of clean sheets this season (April 30th*), with 17.

 

THE STEADY BET

Andrés Iniesta

International Caps: 125

International Goals: 13

The Barcelona Skipper may be heading towards the exit door on his club, but he’s still very much one of the main men for Spain. A legend for both club and country, will he roll back the years at this summer’s World Cup?

 

THE ONE TO LOOK OUT FOR

Marco Asensio

International Caps: 10

International Goals: 0

Tipped by some as a future Ballon d’Or winner in the making, the Spaniard has transformed this season into one of the most exciting players in football, and a player who provides match-winning moments when it matters most.

 

Sit tight and enjoy the ride, as we witness one of the oldest rivalries in international football unfold at this year’s World Cup.

Portugal vs Spain, we predict: 2-1 to Spain

Do you agree? Who do you think will make the difference? Will Manolo el del Bombo make an appearance?

Where will you be watching the game? Follow this link to book your seat at one of our recommended venues to experience an amazing Iberian atmosphere for the match.

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