The Euro 2012 semi finals commences Wednesday with Spain vs. Portugal which promises to be a fantastically entertaining game. The match kicks off at 2.45 p.m. EST and can be watched live on ESPN or online through live stream on ESPN3 (link below).
Spain are favorites for just about every game that they play. The world and European champions have eased their way to the brink of another major tournament final, and now all that stands in their way is old enemy Portugal. Although Spain are undoubtedly the favorites, Portugal have one of their best teams in years, and if the match up is looked at statistically, Spain have only beaten Portugal twice in the past 54 years. Out of 12 games over that time, Spain have won twice, with six draws and four wins for Portugal.
However, prior to 1948 Portugal did not beat Spain for 15 games. Also all of Portugal's wins against Spain have come on Portuguese soil. Furthermore, Portugal have never won a semi final of a major tournament overseas. So can they break that duck today?
They will be looking largely to Cristiano Ronaldo for inspiration. The Portuguese playmaker is one of the top goalscorers in European tournament history, with six goals in total' only Michel Platini (nine) and Alan Shearer (seven) have more than him.
Portugal will certainly need inspiration to break down this Spanish side, who have kept eight consecutive clean sheets in the knock out stages of major tournaments; a record stemming back to World Cup 2006.
In the past Portugal have been accused of relying too heavily on Ronaldo, but that can no longer be said of this Portugal side. Spain will know this better than most; in their last encounter Portugal smashed Spain 4-0. In that 4-0 win, Ronaldo was taken off for the second half - in which Portugal scored three of their four goals.
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But Spain have been as efficient as ever in Euro 2012 to date, passing teams off the park, and starving sides of possession. However, their usual flair has been somewhat missing, according to some. In their last match they were criticized for be "boring" against the French. But that will not bother them, if they can boringly defeat Portugal today they will book themselves a spot in another major tournament final, and will look to win their third consecutive major title.
Spain vs. Portugal kicks off at 2.45 p.m. EST and can be watched live on ESPN, or online through live streaming on ESPN3 by clicking HERE.