World Cup 2018: Spain Team vs Portugal, Predicted XI
The FIFA World Cup 2018 took off in fine fashion last night as hosts Russia handed Saudi Arabia a 5-0 thrashing in the first match of the tournament. Today, however, will see big dogs Spain take on the Euro 2016 champions, Portugal, in one of the biggest games of the group stage.
Spain will look to brush off all the hubbub surrounding their last-minute managerial change by giving it their all in what could prove to be their most important group stage game. Sergio Ramos and co. will be well aware of what this Portugal side are capable of, with talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks.
The Spaniards enter the competition looking to stake a claim for their second FIFA World Cup trophy, having won the 2010 edition in South Africa. Fernando Hierro, Spain's new manager, will certainly understand the significance of this game, and will ostensibly look to field his best possible side to take on Portugal later tonight.
How will Spain line up?
There will be little doubt as to who Spain's custodian will be. With David de Gea in the side, Hierro will have to look no further than the Premier League Golden Glove winner. Guarding him will be the intimidating pair of Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and Barcelona's Gerard Pique.
Jordi Alba is the most likely pick for the left-back position, while the right-back slot, in Dani Carvajal's absence, could well be gifted to Álvaro Odriozola despite his unimpressive performance in the friendly against Tunisia.
The midfield will most likely comprise of Sergio Busquets in the centre, with Andres Iniesta and Thiago Alcantara on either side. Busquets is expected to play an out-and-out holding role, while Thiago will be tasked with maintaining as much possession of the ball as possible.
Iniesta will play a more attacking role, drifting forward everytime La Furia Roja have the ball. The front line could see Diego Costa being flanked by Isco and David Silva on either wing, both of whom are more than capable of providing creative inputs.
Spain XI and Formation
Spain have faced Portugal 35 times in the past, of which 5 were at the World Cup. Spain won 4 of those while the other encounter witnessed a 1-1 draw.
Fernando Hierro's side will look to maintain their unbeaten World Cup record against the Portuguese, as the winner of tonight's game is almost certain to finish atop Group B.
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