Why Portugal will beat Spain
Surprised by the rather bland 0-0 draw between Portugal and Brazil last Friday? The Portugeezer wasnÃ¢ÂÂt as both teams made a couple of changes on their starting XI and werenÃ¢ÂÂt exactly firing on all cylinders.
Additionally, without prior knowledge of which team they could meet in the Last 16, there wasnÃ¢ÂÂt an incentive strong enough for QueirozÃ¢ÂÂs men to attack from the start, which is why Portugal had settle for the runners-up spot while Brazil finished on top of Group G.
A few hours later, the last Group H matches were played to determine the remaining Second Round matches and guess what? We got Spain, our neighbours, current European Champions and probably the most talent-rich team of the tournament. Who else can brag about having Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, Pedro, David Silva and Jesus Navas on the bench?
Having tipped them to go the distance and win the tournament, the Portugeezer is disappointed with what he has seen from the Spaniards. They're not the team that played free-flowing attacking football at the Euro 2008 and during qualification Ã¢ÂÂ and only a red-hot David Villa has spared their blushes so far.
Three weeks ago, they thrashed Poland 6-0 and at last looked legitimate contenders. One week later, they were stunned by Switzerland and that loss may have shaken their confidence and reawaken their World Cupophobia.
On the other hand, Portugal have been quietly improving. The 7-0 rout of North Korea injected confidence into the players and they can't be disappointed with their showing against Brazil.
FÃÂ¡bio CoentrÃÂ£o was only converted to left-back this season but, boy, has he blossomed! He put in two encouraging performances against Ivory Coast and North Korea but the real test was against Brazil. You canÃ¢ÂÂt get tougher opponents than Maicon and Dani Alves, but CoentrÃÂ£o held his own, which is more good news for a backline that has yet to concede a goal in the tournament.
"Coo-eee! Can I play?"
On paper, the Spanish team is not better. It is far better. They have multiple options for just about any position on the field, but for some reason theyÃ¢ÂÂve been sluggish and this time Villa will come across the likes of Bruno Alves and Ricardo Carvalho.
If we were playing against Germany or France, we would lose. We have never fared well against those two teams, but football is also a matter of match-ups and we donÃ¢ÂÂt have any kind of inferiority complex when playing against Spain.
Make no mistake, it will be a tough match no matter what, but despite being a critic of Carlos QueirozÃ¢ÂÂs choices, the Portugeezer sees Portugal being able to grind out a narrow win that will see us through. Somehow defying the odds, Portugal will frustrate Spain and book a quarter-final clash against Japan or Paraguay.
The PortugeezerÃ¢ÂÂs prediction: 2-1
What do you think? Portugal or Spain?