Euro 2012 Semifinals: Spain vs. Portugal

Spain   Portugal

Iberian rivals Spain and Portugal do battle for one place in the Euro 2012 finals, squaring off at Donbass Stadium in Ukraine as the tournament semifinals get underway (2:45 p.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com).

Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque has sprung one major surprise in the defending champions' lineup. Not only is he starting a natural striker, but that striker is Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo, not Fernando Torres or Fernando Llorente. Negredo has played in one match in Euro 2012, coming off the bench for a one-minute cameo against Croatia in the final match of the group stage.

Portugal's lineup, meanwhile, is the XI expected from coach Paulo Bento. Hugo Almeida has taken the place of injured forward Helder Postiga, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who has found his form on the international stage in leading Portugal out of the Group of Death and past the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, will look to keep his hot streak going while exacting revenge on Spain for a defeat at the 2010 FIFA World Cup's Round of 16.

If you will be watching today's match, please feel free to share any thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below. Enjoy the action.

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49 Responses to Euro 2012 Semifinals: Spain vs. Portugal

  1. biff says:

    Outstanding, the Negredo surprise, this is going to help Spain a lot against Portugal. A bold move like that, such as Jogi Low did with the Germany line-up against Greece, is exactly what Del Bosque needed to do. My faith is mostly restored in Del Bosque, although I would have maybe liked to have seen him pull Xavi, who has not impressed thus far.

  2. Jonny says:

    Bold move but one has to believe that a move like this will light a fire for Torres to come in as a late substitute to spark some magic into the team if the game is close.

  3. Vlad says:

    Ronaldo begins his diving BS early on

  4. SilverRey says:

    Portugal doing a good job of holding the ball when they get it, and shutting down the midfield when they lose the ball.

  5. ManicMessiah says:

    This is how I thought France would come out against Spain in the Quarters. Portugal have been impressive.

  6. beachbum says:

    Portugal looking to play balls thru the air around the box

  7. beachbum says:

    Ronaldo is getting fouled a lot

  8. beachbum says:

    Roberto Martinez nailed it in his halftime summary. Portugal looks like the team with 2 days extra rest, and moreso, are displaying self-belief that they can win; Martinez said it’s the most belief he’s seen from a team vs. Spain in 4 years

  9. andrew in tally says:

    He wasnt’ watching US v Spain in 2009. Makes our win back then even more impressive.

  10. jones says:

    Agreed. Though I also thought both Croatia and Italy showed pretty well against them compared with France. Spain have looked a bit flat, but also those two teams tried to take the game to Spain more than others have in the past.

  11. jones says:

    Also, Spain often wants to slow the game down and pass, so when an opposing team applies quick high pressure, you can see them get flustered.

  12. beachbum says:

    Yeah baby!!!

  13. beachbum says:

    agree re. Italy and Croatia…teams aren’t losing in the parking lot vs. Spain anymore

  14. beachbum says:

    how many blasts off target will Almeida deliver today? many evidently

  15. KC says:

    It’s hilarious to see Cristiano do his peacock dance before a free kick only to either blast it into the wall or way up in the stands.
    Easily one of the worst free kick takers ever.

  16. Nate Dollars says:

    hyperbole just detracts from your argument.

    i think he’s just an ‘all-or-nothing’ type. when it’s on, it’s mind-blowing. when it’s off, it’s laughable.

  17. SilverRey says:

    I’m surprised they aren’t using the magic foam line. I thought everyone was using it by this point.

  18. beachbum says:

    Nani has done nothing, when he looks to attack he’s moving in mud

  19. jones says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a Germany/Portugal final, actually. Might be more interesting.

  20. Vlad says:

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHa and they say Arjen Robbin is a choker, way to blow your best chance youve had all game Ronaldo.

    messi would have finished that

  21. ManicMessiah says:

    Completely inexcusable from Ronaldo. That shot has to be on target. Has to be.

  22. beachbum says:

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh chance of the game wasted by Ronaldo…he’ll have nightmares if Portugal go on to lose

    90th minute it was!

  23. SilverRey says:

    btw He put in at least 5 freekicks for RM this year. I’d be happy if I had someone that could give me five extra goals in a season.

  24. beachbum says:

    incredibly bad attempt in the winning moment!

    that was winning time, right there

  25. uksubs says:

    Messi would have kept going, then chip it over the keeper.

    Ronaldo wanted to put that through the net.

  26. KC says:

    Out of how many attempts?
    If you look at his average you’d realize is is one of the worst in La Liga.

  27. ManicMessiah says:

    Almost anyone else but Pepe, I would say it was a complete accident. With him, I’ll need to look at a replay a few more times.

  28. Jack says:

    Incredible that Pepe was not sent off on a second yellow for that.

  29. Jack says:

    Someone needs to tell this official that he cannot block a free kick from being taken unless the team asks for 10 yards. Its even more ridiculous that he blocked it to allow Portugal to get back and defend.

  30. beachbum says:

    Iniesta with the chance…on goal with the touch but too close to the keeper…save by Patricio nicely

    Ramos free kick close to upper 90 but No…well taken tho to end 1st OT

    2nd OT moving along now

  31. Jack says:

    Holy god blatant back pass. Jesus christ

  32. beachbum says:

    Patricio scambling off Navas crack from side…well done again to keep Portugal level

  33. SilverRey says:

    Did anyone else score more than five freekicks?

  34. beachbum says:

    Pedro break free behind at midfield with great win from Cesc, but Portugal hustle back in numbers to clear away the threat

    thought Spain was going to score that time

  35. beachbum says:

    Spain with pressure an dchances late, scrambling defending the box for Portugal

    On to Penalties

  36. KC says:

    Portugal got what they wanted: a 50/50 chance with penalty kicks.
    Cristiano did what he does best…. disappear in a big game.

  37. SilverRey says:

    stats from the ’10/11 La Liga season:

    link to enbsports.blogspot.com

    Ronald’s 5 goals on 52 direct shots is second only to Athletico’s 5 on 32. ~10% success rate really tops out the group.

  38. SilverRey says:

    Scary shot by Nani! Definitely unreachable though…

  39. beachbum says:

    Fabregas closes off the post! Spain goes on, and Ronaldo is denied even a try in the PK shootout! I can’t believe that. Mistake Portugal

  40. Vlad says:

    no, mistake gutless CR, if he wanted to take a shot he should have been one of the early ones, hes a gutless POS who will always live in Messi’s shadow

  41. beachbum says:

    what a LOUSY game. not a good exhibition of the beautiful game at all. but PKs are dramatic so there is that I guess

  42. Nate says:

    Unbelievable that Ronaldo wasn’t that fourth kick!

  43. Nate says:

    Who makes the call on the PK order? Coach? Players?

  44. KC says:

    All is right with the world again. Spain is playing a final and Cristiano chokes in a big game.

  45. Vlad says:

    usually a combination of both

  46. Neruda says:

    the Cristiano’s messed up bad on the penalty kicks. Bruno Alvez was ready to take his penalty and then Nani runs up and takes instead. Alvez was shaken out of his focus and when it was finally his turn everyone in my house agreed that he was going to miss because he got iced by his own coach or Cristiano himself. He hit the bar trying to impossibly place it in the upper upper 90. Fabregas is money on the next one and La Roja wins it. What a game! Cristiano doesn’t even get to take his penalty in the end.

    Both teams had chances but Spain was the more dominant in this one and is the deserving winners.

  47. Neruda says:

    I thought it had enough real stellar moments by the Spanish when Iniesta and crew short passed their way around but all to often a break or something was cut short by someone stopping and dropping and rolling. A lot of players caught fire but they always know how to put it out. I thought Cristiano’s phantom back pain at the end of OT was classic.

  48. Mike says:

    All that talk about Ronaldo being back and THAT’S what he comes out with?

    Epic choke job. Epic.

  49. So at last relying on just C. Ronaldo doomed the whole Portugese team. He did not even show up in the penalty shoot outs.