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Unread 27-06-2012, 06:40 PM
fred tissue
Default Portugal v Spain – live!

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7.23pm: I see that former Atletico Madrid and Portugal winger Paolo Futre has tipped Ronaldo to inspire his homeland to victory tonight. I only mention that predictable prediction as an excuse to show
of Futre in action ... and, more amusingly, a rare and preposterous misjudgment by Peter Schmeichel for Futre's first goal.

7.17pm: "As a regulatory attorney in the States, I am settled in my office preparing to go through the painstaking process of reviewing countless tiny interactions that end up adding up to nothing of significance," chirps Graham G. Martin. You can see where this is going, can't you? "It is very frustrating knowing that the intransigent position of one side will only be matched by the ineffectiveness of the other only to be resolved by some arbitrary resolution system that has little to do with the merits of either side ... perhaps I shouldn't watch the match and do some work instead?"

7.15pm: Who are you supporting tonight and why? Elliot Ross has this interesting explanation of the allegiance of many Mozambiquans" "Thought you might be interested in featuring something from my piece on why Mozambicans are so keen on supporting the football team of their old coloniser (basically, it's because of the 60s and Eusebio). V grateful if you had a moment to check it out."

Here is an incredible stat brought to my attention by @tomEurosport. "Casillas will become the first ever player to win 100 international games if Spain get through tonight. From 136 matches." And I believe that across those 136 games he has to save upwards of 11 shots.

Just look at those line-ups: Spain have thrown in a striker! Is that them bowing to carping about them being boring? Not likely: the inclusion of Alvaro Negredo is more probably just them showing off how many fabulous players they have. It's bonkers to think that Fernando Llorente hasn't even featured yet in this tournament.

The best player on the pitch tonight, of course, could prove to be Cristiano Ronaldo. Opponents have been barracking him with taunts of "Messi, Messi" all tournament but this is Ronaldo's chance to emphatically step out of the Argentinian's shadow by confirming his all-conquering brilliance in a major international tournament, which Messi has yet to do (perhaps the mischievous imp thinks it would be fun to wait and do that in two years time in Brazil?). Ronaldo has been splendid in this competition so far, as have Moutinho, both Portugal's full backs and, to a slightly lesser extent, Nani. If Portugal get the ball tonight, they certainly have the wherewithal to ruffle the Spaniards. But will they get the ball? And where will they get it? Will they have the dynamism and gumption to press high up the way Italy did, or will they seek to lure Spain far forward before lashing out on the counter? We look forward to finding out. Me, I'm going for 2-1 to Portugal, with Raul Meireles, having had 1,375 sighters in the tournament so far, to finally find the net.

Perhaps we will also find out why of why Alvaro Negredo doesn't play in the Premier League? Is he, like Andrea Pirlo, what Phil Brown might describe as "homophobic"? Just imagine if this had come to pass.

Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Negredo

Portugal: Patrício; Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Coentrão; Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles; Nani, Ronaldo, Almeida

Paul Doyle

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