With teams already flying to Russia for the beginning of the World Cup, the excitement around the world is building. 32 teams will compete for world bragging rights to show that they are indeed the best soccer team in the world. On Friday, June 15th, two world heavyweights will step onto the pitch and battle for Iberian supremacy. Portugal and Spain are two of the most dominant and respected clubs in the world and there is no doubt that soccer fans around the world will be taking note of this match. This game is perhaps one of the biggest opening pool play matches in recent memory and the hype building up is very real and alive. Let’s take an in-depth look at both teams and see who has the better chance of victory.
Portugal vs. Spain Match Viewing Details
Date: Friday, June 15, 2018
Time: 2 PM EST
Location: Sochi, Russia
TV Channel: FOX
The Spanish team is easily one of the crowned jewels of the soccer world and they are poised to try and win their second World Cup in this decade. After not even reaching the knockout stage in the 2014 World Cup, there is no doubt that Spain wants to prove that the previous appearance was a fluke. Diego Costa, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, and Sergio Ramos are Spain’s most notable names and they will make their presence felt running around the pitch. Uprising star Rodrigo is another name to watch as well. The fleet-footed youngster can wreak havoc when he gets some separation. The best player on the Spanish roster is David De Gea. Yes, it does hurt not seeing Iker Casillas in net, but Spanish fans shouldn’t have to worry about their goalkeeper. De Gea is the real deal. With Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique helping out on defense as well, De Gea will be at ease, but he will make some spectacular saves in this tournament. Keep an eye on Bayern Munich star Thaigo. He is extremely explosive in the open field but also has the patience to slow the game down in order to ensure that the offense is being run properly.
In 2014, Portugal was eliminated from the tournament after the group stage was over. This team, like Spain, is ready to prove that 2014 was not who they were as a team. When looking at the Portuguese roster, there’s one name that stands out above the rest. Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s all that needs to be said. One of the best players in the world is bringing his talents into yet another World Cup and is ready to dazzle fans and spectators from around the world. Aside from Ronaldo, Portugal also has some of the finest players in the world on their roster just like Spain. Players like Bruno Alves, Jose Fonte, and Pepe are like a fine wine. They’re only getting better with age. Goncalo Guedes is a name that also stands out. He is only 21 years old and can run like a racehorse. He creates chances on the perimeter and with the help of Ronaldo and possibly Andre Silva on the attack, this offense could click and make things tricky for opposing defenses. This team has the ability to do some serious damage at any time, it’s just a matter of which team will show up for each group stage game.
On paper, both teams have some of the best players in the world and there’s absolutely zero doubt that this match will be a fun one to watch. However, with Portugal’s aging defense, will they be able to keep up with Spain’s aggressive and fast nature? De Gea is a tough goaltender to get the ball by and the duo of Pique and Sergio Ramos is difficult to break as well. Expect a tightly contested game with both sides battling to the end. This may be a match where whoever blinks or makes a mistake first, loses. This is the perfect match to kick off what is expected to be an extremely exciting tournament and it will definitely set the tone for the month ahead in Russia.
Advantage: Spain 2-1