In the 2010 World Cup second round, Spain went with a 4-4-2 with Fernando Torres paired up with David Villa followed later by Fernando Llorente giving the Barca striker company. Villa scored the winner in the 63rd minute but it was Llorente who caught the eye with his physical and almost manic presence. Llorente has all but dropped out of sight in the Euro with Torres, Pedro, and Alvaro Negredo higher up in the pecking order.
Will Vincent Del Bosque go with Cesc Fabregas as false no 9 as he did against Italy and then France? He brought Pedro and Torres from the bench against France and the move paid immediate dividends when Anthony Revelliere brought Pedro down for Xabi Alonso’s spot kick.
Del Bosque might go for the first option only to wear Portugal down as they push and probe with their suffocating possession and wait for Andres Iniesta or Xavi to crack one open. If Spain goes down hit on the counterattack which surely favours Portugal with Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo speeding down those wings, then Del Bosque can go to Pedro and Torres in the second half.
Spain will like nothing better than cat and mouse possession whereas Portugal will obviously prefer an open ended game built on their speed and lightning thrusts. It sort of mirrors Real Madrid vs Barcelona. If there is a team that can solve Spain, it is Portugal, and they have to be ambitious on attack. Watch for Joao Moutinho who’s been having an incredible competition. This should be a good one.