Spain 0-0 Portugal: Portugal upset Spain’s rhythm but fail to record a shot on target

June 28, 2012
Spain 0-0 Portugal: Portugal upset Spain’s rhythm but fail to record a shot on target

Spain defeated Portugal on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Vicente del Bosque surprisingly named Alvaro Negredo as his lone striker, meaning Cesc Fabregas dropped to the bench. The rest of the side was as expected.

Paulo Bento was forced to change his striker, with Helder Postiga injured. As already announced, Hugo Almeida replaced him.

A difficult game to summarise – Portugal pressed well in midfield, broke up Spain’s passing and restricted the number of opportunities del Bosque’s side had. However, they lacked a goal threat of their own, and then Spain were the better side in extra time. Read more »

Portugal v Spain preview

June 27, 2012
Portugal v Spain preview

Will Portugal be able to break up Spain’s dominant passing game? More to the point, will they attempt to?


There will be few surprises in selection. Paulo Bento, having kept the same starting XI for his previous six competitive games, has been forced to bring in Hugo Almeida upfront in place of the injured Helder Postiga. Nelson Oliveira is another option, and some would argue that his greater mobility brings more to Portugal’s game. But he’s seen as a supersub by Bento, and will probably replace Almedia after around an hour, to give Portugal’s attack more pace.

Vicente Del Bosque’s only area of concern is in the same position. Having used Cesc Fabregas as a false nine in two games, and Fernando Torres as a proper nine in the other two, it’s a difficult decision to predict. Spain acted as if they didn’t know how to play with a false nine against Italy in their opening game (which is understandable, as Cesc Fabregas said they hadn’t trained in that system before) but were much improved against France. Read more »

Italy 0-0 England: Pirlo dictates the game

June 25, 2012
Italy 0-0 England: Pirlo dictates the game

Italy somehow failed to score despite dominating for 120 minutes, but won the resulting penalty shoot-out.

Cesare Prandelli brought in Riccardo Montolivo to play at the top of the diamond, because of concerns over Thiago Motta’s fitness.

Roy Hodgson made no changes from the XI that narrowly defeated Ukraine in the group stage.

Italy were the better side all over the pitch here – only finishing let them down. Read more »

England v Italy preview

June 24, 2012
England v Italy preview

After three one-sided quarter-finals, this should be a much tighter, tenser tactical battle.

Roy Hodgson will name a standard 4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1 formation, and although there’s a chance that a more direct winger could start on the flanks, it’s probable that he’ll stick with the starting XI that overcame Ukraine in the final group game.

Cesare Prandelli’s formation is much less clear. Having used a 3-5-2 for Italy’s opening two games against Spain and Croatia, he switched to a 4-4-2 diamond for the win over Ireland. Read more »