World Cup: Spain vs. Portugal (Matchday Commentary)

World Cup: Spain vs. Portugal (Matchday Commentary)

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Spain vs. Portugal (Matchday Commentary)

SpainLogo Portugallogo

By AVI CREDITOR

The marquee matchup of the Round of 16 will determine the final spot in the World Cup quarterfinals, as Spain and Portugal meet at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa (2:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com). 

Spain and Portugal, ranked second and third in the world, respectively, not only share a border, but they also hope to share World Cup hosting duties in 2018. Today, the only thing they have in common is the hope of moving on, as one of these two world powerhouses will have its run come to a premature end.

Portugal has yet to concede a goal in the World Cup, shutting down the Ivory Coast, North Korea and Brazil in the group stage in impressive fashion. Spain, meanwhile, has yet to reach its peak form but managed to bounce back from a surprising loss to Switzerland to win its group.

I'll be providing commentary on the match, so please feel free to follow along and share any thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. Enjoy the match (commentary after the jump).

—————-

POSTGAME – That's all for me for now. Thanks for following along, and keep checking SBI and Fox Soccer for all your World Cup coverage. Have a great day!

—————-

POSTGAME – The quarterfinal matchups are all set:

Uruguay vs. Ghana, Brazil vs. Netherlands, Argentina vs. Germany, Spain vs. Paraguay.

—————-

POSTGAME – David Villa's run of form continues, as his game-winner in the 63rd minute was all Spain needed to advance. It took a lot, but Portugal's defense was finally beaten.

—————-

90th Minute – There's the final whistle!! Spain has advanced! Spain defeats Portugal, 1-0.

—————-

90th Minute – Capdevila makes a saving play on the ball in his own box after a turnover sprung Portugal for a counterattack.

Carlos Marchena comes on for Xabi Alonso as the last sub of the match.

—————-

90th Minute – Three minutes of added time, with Spain up a man.

—————-

89th Minute – Red card for Ricardo Costa!! An elbow to the side of Capdevila's head will be his last play of the World Cup. He'd been stirring up some trouble for quite some time, too.

—————-

88th Minute – Last-ditch effort by Capdevila blocks Danny's attempt from the top of the area.

—————-

88th Minute – David Villa comes off for Pedro. Barca stud striker for Barca stud striker.

—————-

86th Minute – Llorente almost puts it away with a header out of nowhere. Villa with the service, catching the Portuguese defense napping.

—————-

85th Minute – Ronaldo with his arms up in the air just outside the area, and he has a legit beef this time. Capdevila face-guarded then pushed Ronaldo down without even seeing the ball. Should've been a free-kick chance for Portugal.

—————-

84th Minute – Minutes remain in Portugal's World Cup run. Where is Ronaldo?

—————-

82nd Minute – Is there a better possession team in the world than Spain?

—————-

80th Minute – Tiago sees yellow for pushing down Villa. If Portugal finds a way to advance, Tiago won't be eligible to be there.

—————-

79th Minute – Long balls down the middle aren't going to trouble Pique and Puyol. And giving the ball back to Spain at this stage in the game is a death sentence. Not a good play by Portugal.

—————-

77th Minute – SAVE EDUARDO! Villa with a blast from distance that's parried up in the air by Eduardo. What a strike. Accuracy, pace, deception.

—————-

76th Minute – Puyol with a spot-on tackle to prevent Coentrao from getting into the Spain box with room to cross. Marvelous defensive play.

—————-

74th Minute – Xabi Alonso picks up Spain's first yellow card of the tournament.

—————-

72nd Minute – Pedro Mendes replaces Pepe, and Liedson replaces Simao. Carlos Queiroz is out of substitutes.

—————-

70th Minute – WOW Ramos comes close to making it 2-0. A great run and shot down the right and an even better save by Eduardo. Corner for Xavi.

—————-

68th Minute – Plenty of time for Portugal to find an equalizer, but this is uncharted territory for the Portuguese. They haven't trailed all tournament, and the only team they scored on was North Korea. Cristiano Ronaldo, your country needs you.

—————-

66th Minute – To the 34 percent of you who picked David Villa in our halftime poll, you receive a golf clap from me.

—————-

65th Minute – That goal should open things up for both teams. Portugal will need to push numbers forward, Spain will have more space to work with.

—————-

64th Minute – Beautiful passing at the top of the area orchestrated by Iniesta sets Villa up for the goal. His first shot was saved, but the rebound came out to him and he flipped it over Eduardo. Xavi sprung him down the left with the final pass. Textbook Spain.

—————-

63rd Minute GOAL SPAIN!!!! DAVID VILLA BREAKS PORTUGAL'S SHUTOUT STREAK! 1-0 SPAIN!

—————-

61st Minute – Villa goes just wide!! Spain has flipped the switch.

—————-

61st Minute – SAVE EDUARDO!! Ramos' cross from Llorente for the diving header at the 6, but the keeper was well positioned. WOW what an enterance for Llorente.

—————-

58th Minute – Couple of subs coming on. Danny replaces Hugo Almeida for Portugal. Fernando Llorente will come on for Fernando Torres. Two players that appeared to be closer than anyone else to getting on the scoresheet will come off.

—————-

57th Minute – Casillas with a bigtime punch of a cross to keep Portugal at bay.

—————-

56th Minute – Another Spain possession stalls out. Don't forget the familiarity factor in this one. So many of these players see each other on a weekly basis in La Liga, and their skill sets aren't mysteries.

—————-

53rd Minute – That's the kind of attack Portugal loves. An extended Spain possession with numbers forward that leads to nothing, and a quick dart upfield to take advantage. The chess match continues.

—————-

52nd Minute – ALMOST an own goal! Hugo Almeida's cross to Ronaldo deflects off Puyol's knee and just beyond the post. WOW.

—————-

49th Minute – Iniesta turns, but he can't get any power on a shot from distance. Much of the same in terms of run of play. Spain foraying forward, Portugal not yielding much and looking to counter.

—————-

47th Minute – Great tackle by Coentrao with Torres running right at him. Solid performance by the left back.

—————-

46th Minute – And we're back. Thanks for joining us, Portugal.

—————-

HALFTIME

—————-

HALFTIME – Portugal's defenders are positioned well, are very organized and always seem to be in the right spot at the right time. Hard not to admire the work done by that unit.

—————-

HALFTIME – Spain had the better chances early, Portugal is maintaining its defensive posture but managed a few chances as well. A goal for either side would open things up immensely.

—————-

HALFTIME – Spain 0, Portugal 0.

—————-

45th Minute – Carvalho pushes Torres off the ball inside the area after an awful Meireles giveaway deep in his own zone. Great play by Carvalho.

—————-

43rd Minute – Tiago with a header attempt but he's wide left. Portugal finishing the half out strongly.

—————-

42nd Minute – Great aggressive goalkeeping by Casillas, beating Simao to a long through ball outside of the box. Portuguese forward would've been in on goal.

—————-

41st Minute – Xabi Alonso takes an accidental kick under the chin by Coentrao after a tackle. Ouch.

—————-

38th Minute – Wow what a chance for Hugo Almeida. Meireles put a wonderful cross into the area, and Almeida's header is inaccurate.

—————-

36th Minute – Xavi leaves it off for Xabi Alonso, but Ricardo Carvalho slides down for the block. Portugal's defense is no joke. These guys find a way to get the job done.

—————-

35th Minute – Ronaldo not feeling the love from Hector Baldassi today. Doesn't get another call that he thinks he deserved. I think I hear the waahhmbulance coming to Cape Town.

—————-

34th Minute – Spain slowing down the pace, working on a patient build-up. Best passing of the tournament so far for Spain.

—————-

31st Minute – Yet to have a goal in the run of play in more than 150 minutes of soccer today. 

—————-

28th Minute – SAVE CASILLAS! Ronaldo blasts an accurate free kick right off Casillas' chest, and no Portugal players are there for the rebound. Well taken.

—————-

26th Minute – Free kick for Portugal 40 yards from goal. 1-8 odds that Ronaldo tries to shoot on goal.

—————-

25th Minute – Xavi comes so close to springing Villa down the left side of the box after a beautiful passing sequence. 

—————-

22nd Minute – Ronaldo flubs a left-footed shot out for a goal kick.

—————-

20th Minute – SAVES CASILLAS! He parries Tiago's 22 yard blast from straight away, and he punches away the rebound before Hugo Almeida can head it home. Portugal's best chance yet.

—————-

19th Minute – Torres does too much dancing inside the area trying to split Coentrao and Pepe. They're not falling for that act.

—————-

17th Minute – Not a good free kick by Ronaldo, bouncing a 30-yard shot right at Casillas. No trouble for the Spain keeper.

—————-

16th Minute – Ronaldo gets a 9.5 for his lovely dive down the right side.

—————-

15th Minute – Play evening out a bit after Spain's hot start.

—————-

12th Minute – Torres turns and chips from inside the area, almost into the goal. The creativity, flair and confidence appears to be back for the Spain striker.

—————-

10th Minute – Ronaldo's teasing cross goes through the area as Almeida fails to run onto it. Nice ball from Ronaldo.

—————-

8th Minute – Hectic series in front of Casillas' goal after back-to-back corners as Portugal tries to put its stamp on this start.

—————-

7th Minute – Another save by Eduardo, as Villa takes another left-angled shot on goal. Spain sees a weakness in Portugal's right side.

—————-

6th Minute – Torres gets taken down around the area by Coentrao, but Hector Baldassi doesn't see anything wrong with it.

—————-

5th Minute – Villa earns a Spain corner. Ball can't find its way out of Portugal's half of the field.

—————-

3rd Minute – David Villa forces Eduardo into another save. Spain looks sharp and focused early on.

—————-

1st Minute – SAVE EDUARDO! WOW what a start for Torres. He shoots from a tough angle on the left and makes the keeper dive to prevent an early goal.

—————-

1st Minute – And the Iberian Derby is underway.

—————-

PREGAME – Do we think Cristiano Ronaldo knows the Portuguese national anthem?

—————-

PREGAME – Biggest questions: Will Ronaldo keep shooting from 30+ yards on a regular basis? Will Fernando Torres reclaim his touch, or his he still too rusty? Will Portugal be more attack-minded or bunker-and-counter? Will Spain find its top form?

We're minutes away from a can't-miss match.

—————-

PREGAME – My prediction: Spain 3, Portugal 2. Who wants an instant classic? This guy, right here.

—————-

PREGAME – Seriously, though. Rooney? Out. Ribery? Out. Ronaldinho? Not in South Africa. Cannavaro? Done. Drogba? Out. Wild stuff.

—————-

PREGAME – If Cristiano Ronaldo wants to quiet any of his critics, a strong performance today would do the trick. He's been flashy and he's had his moments, but he really hasn't been stellar in this World Cup so far. Today's the day he could Write his Future and end the curse of the Nike commercial.

—————-

PREGAME – Whichever team wins will be the favorite against Paraguay, but if Portugal wins, it could be a little shorthanded in the quarterfinal. Six players are carrying yellow cards into this match: Cristiano Ronaldo, Tiago, Pepe, Hugo Almeida, Fabio Coentrao and Pedro Mendes.

Spain, meanwhile, has yet to have a player receive a yellow card. Pretty impressive discipline by La Furia Roja.

—————-

PREGAME – Let's get the chatter going a little early. Who do you think is going to win? What are your predictions?

—————-

PREGAME – Here are the starting lineups:

SPAIN

————–Torres———Villa————

–Iniesta–Xabi Alonso—Busquets–Xavi–

–Capdevila—-Puyol—-Pique—-Ramos–

——————–Casillas——————-

PORTUGAL

—Ronaldo——Almeida——-Simao—

—Meireles——–Pepe——–Tiago—

–Coentrao–Alves–Carvalho–Costa–

—————–Eduardo—————–

More from

More SBI
Home