Euro 2012: Spain v Portugal semi-final preview
- 25 June 2012 16:44
- Posted by David Clayton
David Silva will be hoping to help Spain reach their third major final in four years when they play Portugal on Wednesday evening.
Current Euro champions and 2010 World Cup holders, La Roja will start the game as favourites, despite the claims that they are yet to really click into top gear – imagine how well they will play if they do!
Silva, who will win his 62nd cap in the semi-final, knows it won’t be a case of just turning up to win against Portugal.
“We’re motivated to win a third straight major championship, to make history,” said City’s midfield genius. “But we know it will be very complicated and difficult. Every team can make it difficult for you.”
Xabi Alonso scored both goals in the 2-0 win over France at the weekend, but Portugal are likely to be a different proposition, particularly with Cristiano Ronaldo appearing to hit form at just the right time.
The Real Madrid striker is familiar with the Spanish defenders – and vice-versa – but his record haul of goals last season in La Liga means the Portuguese star has little to fear
Ronaldo was the inspiration in Portugal’s 4-0 win over Spain some 19 months ago and he has so far had 14 shots on target, resulting in three goals and four strikes of the woodwork – the best record of any striker at this year’s Euros.
"He's a very complete player," said João Moutinho, Ronaldo’s international team-mate. "I don't think I could highlight any weak points. He's great with his head, his feet, and he's very fast."
Portugal’s Nani has also provided more crosses than anyone else (19) and with 73 crosses in total, Portugal have almost doubled that of Spain’s crosses so far.
In contrast, Spain have completed more passes than any other nation with 2616 compared to Portugal’s 1164.
“We have a lot of respect for Spain, but we have respect for ourselves too,” said Portugal right-back João Pereira. “We have a great squad and great players, and we're confident in our way of playing."
The match kicks off at 19:45, Wednesday (UK time) in Donetsk.