FIFA World Cup 2018, Portugal vs Spain: Five things to watch out for in the match
The FIFA World Cup is back and brings a familiar sense of excitement along with it. People all over the world are already rooting for their beloved countries, as the global football extravaganza kicks off.
It has been almost six years since the last Iberian derby - a major international rivalry between Spain and Portugal. The two football supergiants take on each other on 15th June in the second match of Group B, in what promises to be an absolute thriller of a contest.
The last time these two sides went head-to-head, was in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 when Spain beat Portugal 4-2 by penalties after a goalless match. Spain is serious favorites to lift the title this time and would be looking to start their World Cup campaign with a bang.
But Portugal showed that they can defy all odds and won the Euro 2016 even though they were the underdogs of the match.
Head-to-head records: 35 matches. Spain(18). Portugal (6). Draw(12). No Result(1).
Let us take a look at the five things to watch out for in the massively anticipated Iberian derby.
#1 The threat of Cristiano Ronaldo
If there is a player who can win you matches single-handedly and keep scoring decisive goals in every other match, it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo.
Already 33 years of age, the goal-machine shows no chances of slowing down and continues to baffle football pundits with his fitness at this age and his goal-scoring prowess.
Arguably the best finisher in world football at the moment, Cristiano has had a stellar career with Portugal and he leads the international scoring charts for active players, having scored a mind-boggling 81 goals in 150 appearances for Portugal.
This may very well be Ronaldo's last World Cup and he would look to cement his status as the greatest player of all time if he wins the trophy this time out. He has an edge over rival Lionel Messi, having won the Euro 2016.
He has demonstrated on multiple occasions that no defense is good enough to stop him on his day.
He would definitely be looking to trouble the Spanish centre-back duo of Gerard Pique and club-mate Sergio Ramos.
Can Ronaldo send Portugal off to a flying start?