Portugal vs Spain, Euro 2012 Semi-Final: Open Thread

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Iberian bragging rights are up for grabs today as Spain takes on Portugal in the Euro 2012 semi-final. The winner will play in Sunday’s final. The loser will go home.

There’s so much on the line in this one. Will Spain move a step closer to winning a historic third major Championship in a row (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012)? Or is Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo set to put his name in the history books by putting his nation into a final where they’ll play either Germany or Italy?

As an England supporter, I’m hoping Spain get knocked out today. This Spanish side has been painful to watch at times in this tournament, and hasn’t really been tested yet except for their game against Italy. It’s time for Spain to show us what they have today. But it’s also an opportunity for Portugal to step it up. They’ve improved in every game they’ve played in this tournament, and this will be a true test.

Before, during and after today’s match, post your rants, raves, questions and observations in the comments section below.

57 thoughts on “Portugal vs Spain, Euro 2012 Semi-Final: Open Thread”

  1. Another opportunity indeed for Portugal to step it up, I hope it is the right time now, there is Portugal flags and jersey all over the place in Canada, Spain have zero supporter.

  2. As long as Por keep pressure on ball and do not drop off and allow Spain possession we could be in for a good game. We will see what happens at 20 min.

  3. Nani needs to quit with the play-acting, and focus his energy on beating the Spanish defenders.

    The Gaffer

    1. I noticed that Nani has a habit of falling to his “selling tactics” after he gets a few calls go against him. Granted ref was wrong on a couple of occasions but Nani needs to get on with it.

  4. Spain look tired. Nani was robbed of portugals best attack. This ref is having too much of an effect on the game. Ramos up to his old tricks and just stepping into people as he is outwitted on the ball and getting away with it.

    Portugal look really good. However, iniesta a is a freak, his centre of gravity enables him to keep the ball in impossible situations, such a talent.

  5. Cristiano Ronaldo should have taken a penalty instead of trying to be the one who would score the winner. He wanted the glory, which ended up killing Portugal.

    The Gaffer

    1. No, no no, in a game like that, it’s more likely they wanted a player like him to take the last and absorb all the pressure, nothing to do with wanting glory. There is way more pressure on the later penalties.

      1. But the later penalties don’t mean anything if Spain wins before they get to Ronaldo, which is what happened. Ronaldo should have moved up the pecking order and taken the one after Nani. Alves was in no state to take a PK.

        The Gaffer

        1. it easy to say that in Hindsight, but you nominate to the ref who will take them, Nani had to run and take the third because they go the order wrong. The first 3 penalties are given, its always always a surprise when players don’t make the first 3. and to say he wanted the 5th because of glory, is extremely cynical on one of the best pro’s in the game.

          We will see in the press conference, it will come out, but I guarantee it’s because they figured the best person to handle the inevitable über pressure would be Ronaldo in that situation.

          If he had taken an earlier penalty and someone else buckled under the pressure, he would get blamed for not taking that penalty, he is in a no win situation.

          1. I don’t believe so, Dust. The referee needs to know the 5 penalty kick takers, but the five can decide who goes first, etc.

            The Gaffer

  6. On the balance of play Spain were the better team and they should have won it in the extra time. Ronaldo had a glorious opportunity to win for Portugal at the end of regulation but he missed it and ultimately paid for it. Overall sub par performance for Ronaldo. Nani was invisible almost entire game. Spain didn’t look like usual selves but they showed today that they are true champions.

    1. How did they show today that they are true champions?? They took their penalty kicks well, but I don’t think their performance over the course of the 90 minutes, or that they won a penalty kick shootout, qualifies them as “true champions” today. If they beat Germany or Italy on Sunday, then yes.

      The Gaffer

      1. They found the way to win even though they were not at their best. They handled the pressure of penalty shootouts much better than Portugal. There had more cohesion as a team. They had two days less for rest but they looked much fresher at the end. Finally, they had players coming from the bench and be able step up for the occasion.

        1. Those are all worthy accomplishments, but I don’t think that qualifies them as true champions based on that.

          Having said that, I’m looking forward to the final on Sunday. Both Italy and Germany have a good opportunity to beat a Spain side that has holes in it, especially in defense. If Portugal was able to capitalize on their chances today, they could have beaten Spain 1-0 or 2-0.

          The Gaffer

          1. What would it take for you call them true champions?

            Nobody arguing that Spain are vulnerable at the moment. They have two key players missing in Villa and Puyol. Their other star striker Fernando Torres is AWOL. Portugal had a good plan to counter Spain that they executed extremely well for the most of the game. Portugal had arguably the best player in the world in Christiano Ronaldo. Still all this was not enough to beat Spain.

            Portugal had their chances today but they didn’t take them. And when push came to shove during shootout they faltered. That is why they are not champions.

            1. A convincing victory against a tough opponent such as Portugal today would have me calling them true champions.

              Other than the Italy game this tournament, Spain really hasn’t been tested. Their attacking force is blunt.

              The Gaffer

          2. To be honest Spain do not require validation from you or “a convincing victory against a tough opponent” to be called true champions. After all, they are reigning World and European champions and they are playing in another European final. This is unprecedented accomplishment if it is not enough to be called true champions I don’t know what it is. I’m not a big fan of Spanish national team or their style but I give credit when it is due.

            1. Andrei, you asked me the question, so I answered it.

              They’re currently the best team in the world, but they’re not playing like it. They haven’t made a mistake yet, but they haven”t yet met their match against a side who is as good as they are. I thought Portugal would be the one, but they missed chance after chance today.

              The Gaffer

          3. I don’t quite recall those chance after chance. Portugal had zero shots on goal today. Sure they had some openings but their only true chance came at the end of regulation and Ronaldo botched it. Spain on the other hand despite all their woes in offence had two clear chances in the first half and two sitters they missed in the extra time. I’d rather say it was Iniesta who was unusually wasteful today.

            1. Portugal had a few counter-attacks where they outnumbered the Spanish defense, but picked the wrong pass which prevented Portugal from scoring.

              The Gaffer

    2. The pass to Ronaldo by Meireles was very poor, it was too late cutting the angle for his attack in half, and it was behind him meaning it ended up on his left foot, a terrible play by Meireles, he blew it, sure Ronaldo would have down better if on his right foot, but it was on his left.

      Not sure why portugal cam cut so flat in the second half, I will watch it again on espn3, nani faded, many players did for portugal unfortunately. Almeida was just plain terrible, wasting opportunities.

      Spain should play the 4-6-0 in the final, if they do, i don’t see them loosing.

      1. Agree the pass was terrible but a player of Ronaldo’s caliber should have done much much better. That is what separates great players from good players. This was Portugal’s the only true scoring opportunity in entire game and it was Ronaldo’s goolden moment to shine.

        During the game Portugal went from looking very good in the first half to mediocre in the second half and plain awful in the extra time. In the end every Portuguese player was looking for Ronaldo to bail them out and nobody was able or willing to step up.

  7. yawn. you can sit and tell me all you want about how great this Spain team possesses the ball and all their skillful players but they aren’t scoring and they aren’t impressive.

    The group stage of the tourney was pretty good but the knockout stage has been dreadful.

  8. I just don’t see the purpose of playing Navas & Pedro with Fabregas up top….. If you are going to bring on wingers don’t you want to have a real striker up top?

    I don’t have a problem if you want to play 4-6-0… with Fabregas/Silva/Iniesta/Xavi rotating and playing free roles… but ones you bring on the wingers, I think you need a striker, no matter which one Torres/Negredo/Llorente…

    I thought that Mata/Martinez/Cazorla would have been better changes for Silva & Xavi if you are going to take off Negredo for Fabregas….

    Del Bosque is obviously a great coach with his accomplishments…. I just can’t figure out the strategy when he brings on true wingers (especially Navas maybe not as much Pedro) when there is no threat in the box.

  9. the knockout rounds have been disappointing. In each quarter final there was one team who refused to play (Czechs, Greece, France, England) and this match wasn’t that great either.

  10. Regarding the penalty issue, Cesc asked to take the 5th Spanish penalty as he felt confident in finishing it.
    Now Cesc is heralded as a hero.
    Ronaldo asked or was asked to take the 5th Portuguese penalty as he too felt confident in finishing it.
    Ronaldo is called a bottler / arrogant.

    These are the fine margins in football and I think it is a little unfair on Ronaldo just because his turn didn’t arrive.

    By the way, Ronaldo took the 5th penalty against England in 2006. So this is not the first time he asked or was asked to take the 5th penalty.

  11. Del Bosque has effectively introduced the tactic of “drabenaccio.” I know that the debate has been worked over like a toilet seat at the local gin mill, but this was not entertaining. The match had some life as Spain sat back to conserve energy through parts of the first half, which let Portugal have some of the match. But once Portugal sniffed a nil-nil draw, they went back into the shell and there was little fight against Spain.

    Spain deserved the victory if only that Portugal couldn’t find a final ball to save their lives. CRonaldo choked on his chances, and probably for his image it was good that Alves botched his because I’m not sure Ronaldo would have converted. Ronaldo still comes off as a slight choke, but he doesn’t bear the full brunt of missing that crucial penalty.

    1. And Fabregas really choked on his. That’s the type of bounce Spain has gotten in recent years. From Robben’s gaffe at WC2010 to a ball that for most would have come straight back out at them. Instead it skids in. That’s the way it goes for the Spanish, and it drives a desire to watch Germany finally take them down.

  12. I have to give Portugal credit, they pressed Spain the entire game and disrupted the slick passing game. Spain did not look to put one in the net until the final 15 min of extra time. I think Spain has shown that they can be beat. I would put money on Germany to take it all.

  13. What an awful game! Based upon regulation time I was tempted to say Spain’s star is waning. However, during extra time they were fresh and totally dominated a tiring Portuguese side. That is the mark of a champion. Nonetheless, their efficient pinball style of play is tedious.

    And England needs to reassess the continuing claim of long season tiredness affecting their game. Meireles has played all season for Chelsea and continued to run his socks off in this tournament.

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