26th June 2012
Having come further than anyone expected, Portugal go into the European Championship semi-final without pressure, but that doesn’t mean the Seleccao won’t try to get one over their rivals and make it to the final. That will be no easy task considering reigning champions Spain will be on the other side, although the reality is La Furia Roja haven’t really impressed so far.
Despite boasting a plethora of talent within the ranks, Portugal have become famous for underachieving at major competitions. While usually considered one of the favourites, the Seleccao always find a way to disappoint their fans, so needless to say many people believed Paulo Bento’s side were in for another failure at Euro 2012. Nonetheless, in spite of some problems leading up to the tournament finals, Portugal managed to hit the ground running early on and beat Denmark and Netherlands to the second place in the group of death. The team then defeated Czech Republic to reach the Euro 2012 semi-finals, although the fact they needed almost eighty minutes to break the average Czechs, playing without their best footballer, is a cause for concern. While Portugal have shown a lot of promise in Poland and Ukraine, they appear to lack the quality needed to match a side like Spain, seeing that Cristiano Ronaldo is the only one who can cause La Furia Roja some problems. The absence of first choice striker Helder Postiga only adds to the worries.
Spain were always going to be considered Euro 2012 favourites after winning their last two major tournaments, but Vicente del Bosque’s side have largely struggled to justify the favourite’s tag. In all fairness, the absence of Barcelona, Chelsea and Athletic players at the start of the training camp seriously hindered team’s preparations for the European Championship, while the long season also played a part. As a result, Spain failed to produce what was expected of them, but, nonetheless, managed to reach the semi-finals with relative ease. Their tiki-taka football has been dubbed as boring by many experts at the Euro 2012, but as long as that allows them to enjoy a lion’s share of possession, La Furia Roja are unlikely to change their approach. Therefore, we could easily see the repeat of the match that saw them record a comfortable 2-0 win over France, as I just cannot see how the Portuguese are going to stop their rivals from winning this game.
Portugal have proved they are far too reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo and if Spain succeed in stopping the Real Madrid forward, they will have no problems reaching the Euro 2012 final. I am confident La Furia Roja will triumph in regular time, and there is a good value in odds of evens offered on away win.
Verdict: Away win Spain (2)
Best Odds: 1/1