Portugal and Spain played out a goalless draw in an international friendly earlier today at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Both teams saw this game as an opportunity to rotate their squads and fielded experimental line-ups in a match that lacked goals but made up for it with plenty of intrigue.
Spain dominated large periods of the game and Luis Enrique will be pleased with his side's performance. Portugal created the best chances of the game, however, and posed a significant threat on the counter.
Spain seized the initiative in the early stages of the game with the likes of Rodrigo and Dani Olmo causing several problems for the Portuguese back-line. Spain were sharp and inventive with their passing and created several chances in the opening half-hour.
Portugal got into the game towards the end of the first half and fashioned a few excellent chances that fell to Raphael Guerreiro and Cristiano Ronaldo. Spain were the better side in the first half but did not have goals to show for it.
Portugal showed tremendous improvement in the second half and posed a significant threat on the counter. Cristiano Ronaldo brought his magic to the fore with a powerful shot that smashed into the cross-bar.
Portugal hit the woodwork again minutes later as Renato Sanches latched on to an exceptional pass from Cristiano Ronaldo but fired his shot a fraction too high. The introduction of Adama Traore and Joao Felix in the second half also contributed to the game's changing dynamic.
The best chance of the game arguably fell to Joao Felix in stoppage-time. The Atletico Madrid striker was left facing an open goal but fail to get a touch on Renato Sanches' excellent flick. Both Spain and Portugal tested their bench strength in this game and will be pleased with the results.
#5 Adama Traore can be Spain's trump card
The introduction of Adama Traore gave Spain a new lease of life in the second half. Portugal were on the rise at the hour-mark and Luis Enrique needed to use the ace up his sleeve to tilt the match back in his favour.
The powerful winger came on for Sergio Busquets and occupied a position on the right flank. Adama Traore tormented his Wolves teammates with his sheer pace and created a number of chances in the second half.
Spain's distinct style of play does yield results on most days but Luis Enrique will rest easy knowing that he has an excellent alternative at his disposal. Adama Traore can potentially be the ideal super-substitute and is likely to play an important role for Spain in the years to come.
#4 Portugal need a creative midfield influence
Portugal started the game with a midfield trio of Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, and Renato Sanches. With Spain dominating proceedings in the first half, Portugal were unable to drive forward with the ball and could not trouble Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The introduction of William Carvalho had a discernible impact on Portugal's style of play. Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva emerged as potent threats on the counter and Portugal's breaks resulted in two shots cannoning off the cross-bar.
Portugal also have the enigmatic Bruno Fernandes in their ranks and Fernando Santos is likely to use the Manchester United star in an attacking midfield role to create a cohesive unit. The Portuguese have a massive array of attacking talent and will need a midfield lynchpin like Bruno Fernandes to unlock the side's full potential.