As per usual, Portugal are reliant on the abilities of Cristiano Ronaldo to see them into the Euro 2012 finals. But Ronaldo, who lest we forget was peculiarly absent for much of his team's first two games, should find great difficulty in winning the ball away from the clinical Spanish side. However, Portugal will no doubt be spurred on by memories of their 4-0 victory against the Spaniards in 2010 – Spain's heaviest defeat since 1963. Running a 4-3-3 formation, Portugal are looking to prove that the best form of defence is a good offence.
A 2-0 victory against an infuriated France sees Spain heading into Portugal in fine form; they have met the Portugese 34 times, winning 16 times and losing just 6. However, Spain have won just 2 of their last 12 games against their international rivals, with their aforementioned heavy defeat in 2010 (the same year they won the World Cup in South Africa) still lingering heavily on their minds. Their squad heading into this semi-final is likely to remain unchanged with no injuries reported from the quarter-final.
Defender Joao Pereira: "We have to be ourselves and not change the way we play just because we're going to face the reigning World and European champions. We're going to play our own game."
Manager Paolo Bento: "(Spain) have an identity based around the ball possession they have. They always play in last third and are very strong when they lose the ball, that's why they are a team of great quality, why they are European and world champions. We will have a lot of difficulties but the important thing is that we have to be loyal to our identity too."
Midfielder Xavi: “We have a great full-back in Arbeloa, who is among the best out there defensively speaking. We'll try to cover for him, to make sure Ronaldo doesn't settle and we don't let him turn."
Manager Vicente del Bosque: "This is the most important game of our lives. We hope that we will keep progressing and stay in the elite of football. We have spent the whole of our lives looking for a style and now we have one that has been successful. Yet there are always people who are not satisfied. Our philosophy has got us here. I would prefer [Portugal] to play deep. I like us to be in the opposition's half and to have possession of the ball. I think that we have the players and the resources to open up defences."
Portugal have a chance of upsetting the Spanish side, who have appeared shaky in this tournament at times, but ultimately the Spaniards unity as a squad, something which Portugal doesn't have, should see them taking their place in the final.
Portugal 100/30, Draw 23/10, Spain 10/11