Portugal and Spain will lock horns in their respective quests for supremacy in the first Group B game at Russia 2018.
Portugal vs Spain. It’s the clash of neighbors – the Iberian derby. Euro 2016 winners vs 2010 World Cup winners. Cristiano Ronaldo vs his Real Madrid teammates. It simply does not need any further hype, this one.
What is the kick-off time of Portugal vs Spain?
Kick-off for this World Cup Group B opener is at 18:00 GMT/ 14:00 ET.
The impending blockbuster encounter will be the curtain raiser of the games in Group B at this year’s World Cup, and it is one of the matches many are looking forward to seeing. Bar the pride which will be at stake due to Portugal and Spain’s proximity, the outcome of the encounter will be very crucial to determining whether both countries will finish the group stage on a high.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for Portugal?? vs Spain??
— CRonaldoDaily.com (@BreatheRonaldo) June 12, 2018
It will be erroneous to think that, although very likely on paper, both nations will have easy rides and stroll past Morocco and Iran knowing the existence of football’s unpredictability. Nevertheless, it will also be unwise to consider its possibility.
Still, both Portugal and Spain will fancy their chances in this first game knowing the importance of the three points at stake. For the former who come into Russia as reigning European champions, the mission will simply be to try and repeat their fate at the Euros back in 2016.
Still being led by Fernando Santos and captained by the world’s best player, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Seleccao have been very impressive over the course of 10 matches. They have managed to lose just a single game. Their qualification campaign is also one which deserves commendation as they recorded nine out of 10 wins, and only losing in the game which lacked the presence of the skipper of the side.
The talismanic Ronaldo comes into the event soaring in confidence after firing Real Madrid to a third successive Champions League trophy and bagging 15 goals in the quest. On Friday, he will come face to face with some of his teammates on the opposite side and with friendships set aside, he will aim at firing his country to glory on the world’s biggest football stage.
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) June 10, 2018
It will certainly not be a stroll in the park for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and his comrades as Spain will most likely stage a resilience with their star-studded team. La Furia Roja once again seems to depict a major force to reckon with considering they are yet to put a foot wrong since they were eliminated by Italy at the Euros two years ago.
Although still unbeaten, the fact that the 2010 World Cup winners have managed only two wins in their last five games raises some concern. It makes one question whether they indeed have what it takes to restore their tainted image on the world stage coming into the summer’s tournament.
A tornado also hit the camp of the Spaniards on Wednesday after the country’s FA confirmed the sack of head coach Julen Lopetegui just two days before they face-off with Portugal. The 2010 World Cup winners will now be led by Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro.
With this new development messing with the synergy in their camp, it is pretty unclear what the future holds for a side that has been tipped as a favorite at the competition. Having to deal with the efficiency of Cristiano Ronaldo as well, Spain indeed have no option than to step up as soon as possible.
They know him. He will not hold back and they have to be ready.
- Portugal has won two, drawn once and lost three of their last five matches. They scored seven and conceded six goals in the process.
- Spain has won two and drawn three of their last five matches. They scored 12 and conceded six goals in the process.
Portugal vs Spain Head-to-Head
Spain has dominated in the Iberian derby by registering 18 wins in 36 appearances against Portugal. The pair has drawn on 12 occasions and the Seleccao have managed just six wins in total.