Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Group B: Portugal vs Spain - soccer world cup Preview

Group B: Portugal vs Spain - soccer world cup Preview

Two players compete for ball

The first heavyweight clash of the soccer world cup comes our way on Friday as Portugal and Spain lock horns in a bid for Group B supremacy. 

What a potentially scintillating encounter between two sides who have won the last three editions of the Euros. Spain won it back-to-back in 2008 and 2012 and Portugal won the most recent tournament which took place in 2016. Enroute to their 2012 glory, Spain defeated Portugal on penalties in a tightly-contested semi-final.

The pair endured a disappointing 2014 soccer world cup in which neither managed to progress beyond the group stages. Both will be looking to set the record straight in Russia.

Portugal vs Spain | Friday 15 June | Fisht Olympic Stadium (20:00)

To Win Match
Portugal 33/10
Draw 22/10
Spain 9/10

*Please note that this preview was compiled before pre-tournament friendlies were played. 

The reigning European champions got their 2014 soccer world cup off to the worst possible start as Pepe received a red card as Germany annihilated them 4-0. Cristiano Ronaldo was injured and he only managed to score one goal in their three group stage matches as they crashed out of the tournament, finishing third behind Germany and the USA.

The dawn of a new era after Fernando Santos’ appointment saw them surprisingly win the 2016 Euros after scraping their way through the group stage with three draws. The Selecao also managed to reach last year’s Confederations Cup semi-finals, only to lose on penalties to eventual champions, Chile. They will look to players who ply their trade abroad such as Pepe, Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva, Jose Fonte and of course Ronaldo to produce the goods.

The 2010 World Cup winners will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing 2014 campaign which saw them bow out at the first hurdle. La Roja’s Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Isco, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal will reunite with their Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo which in itself is a source of much intrigue as they’ve all won the UEFA Champions League together.

This will likely be Andres Iniesta’s last tournament with his country and the players will be looking to honour the veteran by lifting the trophy. Diego Costa’s match up with Pepe is another interesting battle as they’re known for being volatile characters. Expect them to try and get each other sent off. Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Thiago Alcantara and David Silva are title winners in their respective domestic leagues and they will be looking to transfer their winning mentality to the international stage.

Verdict: Spain 9/10
Despite Portugal's recent success on the international stage, I feel that Spain simply have far too much quality in their ranks to suffer defeat at the hands of the Portuguese. Back Ramos and his charges to get the job done at 9/10.

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