Since the draw was announced, I have been waiting for this match. Always a captivating spectacle, The Iberian Rivals have met in some absolute thrillers. Including World Cup 2010 knockout round, as well as Euros 2012. Spain victorious in penalties for the latter. Portugal looks to build off its EUROS 2016 success, and they have Cristiano Ronaldo to do so. Coming in off a good run of form to end the season, Cristiano looks to secure a draw at least, to help promote his side to the Round of 16.
Just three days after sacking Julen Lopetegui, who was announced as Real Madrid Manager the day before, Newly promoted Manager Fernando Hierro will take reign. Hierro's last job was that of Real Oviedo Manager, who is in the Segunda Division in Spain. Being handed the task of taking a team at such short notice, and have expectations of winning a World Cup, could seem cruel. These are the Spaniards though. They have a style you can not create over a week, but embrace and let them put their best foot forward. You can not question the talent, and skill, in midfield. Questions that could be asked, is if Spain is down, will Hierro make the big tactical changes that you would see out of Julen Lopetegui. Who is he going with up top? We will have to wait and see.
Portugal can rattle Spain early and often, with its high press and counter attack. Do not think for a second that Portugal will sit back and defend with no tactics. Fernando Santos will have his game plan ready to execute, and has a slight advantage against opposing Manager Hierro. Santos has had time with his players, he knows what situations he can put his players into, and accelerate at it. Who would have thought Eder would score the game winning goal at Euros 2016, Santos plugged in his substitute to win the Final for him. Tactically sound, with the skill and speed to boot, Portugal could very well run Spain out of the building.
Players to keep an eye on:
Spain playmaker Isco looks to breakout at this World Cup, along with Strikers Iago Aspas and Rodrigo. Both had amazing seasons for Celta Vigo and Valencia respectively. Man in Midfield , Busquets from Barcelona, will once again pull the strings from deep for Spain. Game Changer for Spain, Marco Asensio. The Real Madrid man will be making his World Cup debut.
Portugal has finally brought Ricardo Quaresma to the party. Its his First World cup for the national team, and I foresee a Trivela in the future. Bernardo Silva is coming off an impressive season at Manchester City, and I see him continuing his form at the World Cup. The Lefty is beautiful to watch on the ball. Gelson Martins is about as exciting as they come, with his pace and skill, could be trouble for Pique and Ramos and the defense of Spain. Game Changer for Portugal, Goncalo Guedes. The young Portuguese star, plays in Spain for Valencia CF. He will definitely be turning heads at The World Cup.