Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Portugal v. Spain

Here are your line-ups for today's big semi-final in the European soccer championships (each player's club is in parentheses):

GK: Rui Patricio (Benfica)
DF: Joao Pereira (Valencia)
DF: Bruno Alves (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
DF: Pepe (Real Madrid)
DF: Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid)
MF: Miguel Veloso (Genoa)
MF: Joao Moutinho (Porto)
MF: Raul Meireles (Chelsea)
MF: Nani (Manchester Utd)
FW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Captain) (Real Madrid)
FW: Hugo Almeida (Besiktas)

Ronaldo is probably the second-best player in the world (after Lionel Messi). He needs to have a big game for Portugal to pull the upset.

GK: Iker Casillas (Captain) (Real Madrid)
DF: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid)
DF: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
DF: Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
DF: Jordi Alba (Valencia)
MF: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
MF: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
MF: Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona)
MF: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
MF: David Silva (Manchester City)
FW: Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla)

Spain's attack does not rely on a traditional striker. Spain's method is to hold the ball for enormous stretches of time just outside the other team's penalty box, sending around tiny passes in an attack known as the Tiki-Taki. When it works -- and it usually does -- the other team finds it almost impossible to get the ball, much less launch an attack of its own.

Any further thoughts will appear in the comments.


  1. And we're off! Portugal are wearing white uniforms with red and green trim. Spain are wearing their traditional red shirts with gold trim, blue shorts with gold trim, and red socks with gold trim.

  2. Portugal has never won this tournament (or the World Cup, for that matter). In 2004, Portugal did reach the final of the European Championships (they hosted the tournament that year). But they lost to Greece, of all countries.

    Spain has won this tournament in 1964 and in 2008 (as well as a World Cup in 2010). They were runners-up to France in 1984.

  3. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (Half Time)

    Portugal is keeping the ball about 43 percent of the time, which is very good against Spain, and the Portuguese have had a few decent chances to score. Most importantly, they're not letting Spain camp out in front of their goal.

  4. Patrick Patterson has been saying all along.

  5. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (53d minute)

    Well, the whole striker thing didn't work out for Spain. They pull Negredo, and replace him with Cesc Fabregas, a midfielder who plays club soccer for Barcelona. They now have five Barca players and four from Real Madrid on the pitch.

  6. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (61st minute)

    Still not much chance of anyone scoring. Spain pulls David Silva and replaces him with Jesus Navas, a midfielder who plays club soccer for Sevilla.

  7. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (65th minute)

    Between this game and the quarter-final between England and Italy, we've now had more than three consecutive hours of play without a goal being scored.

  8. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (81st minute)

    Portugal pulls Almeida, and replaces him with another forward -- Nelson Oliveira, who plays for Benfica.

  9. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (83d minute)

    Cristiano Ronaldo, the second-best player in the world, gets a free kick about 25 yards from the goal. This is his chance to put Portugal in the final. He lines it up for a really long time -- and then kicks it over the goal.

  10. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (88th minute)

    Spain makes its last substitution, pulling Xavi Hernandez and putting in a forward, Pedro Rodriguez. He becomes the sixth player from Barcelona in this Spanish lineup. Unfortunately for them, Lionel Messi -- the best Barca player of all -- is from Argentina.

    1. Acutally, Xavi also plays for Barcelona. So they still have five Barca players in the game.

  11. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (90th minute)

    Portugal gets a breakaway and Ronaldo launches a running shot from just outside the penalty box. It misses badly. Portugal needed him to score tonight, and he just hasn't done it.

  12. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (Full Time)

    How long, oh Lord?

  13. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (112th minute)

    Now we've reached the stage of the proceedings where a lot of guys are throwing themselves on the ground in hopes of getting free kicks or penalties.

    Portugal replaces Meireles with Silvestre Valera, a forward who plays for Porto. If they're smart, they're loading up their team with guys who can make penalty shots.

  14. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (119th minute)

    Now that Spain faces the prospect of penalty kicks, they are really trying to score. They created only six scoring opportunities during regulation, but they've created four so far in extra time. But they've left it too late. They're going to have to win this one from the penalty spot.

  15. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (After Extra Time)

    Between this game and the England/Italy game, that's four hours in a row without a goal.

  16. Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (Spain win 4-2 on penalty kicks)

    Portugal had Ronaldo lined up to take their fifth kick, but he never got a chance. Alves and Moutinho both failed to make their penalties -- Alves (who went fourth for Portugal) crashed his shot right off the cross bar. So even if Ronaldo had scored, Portugal would have only had 3 points. Meanwhile, Spain's first penalty was saved, but the World Champions made their next four to advance to their third major Final in a row.

    What a boring, boring game this was.