By Tom Robin, EnStarz | Jun 27, 2012 02:12 PM EDT
Spain vs. Portugal takes place on Wednesday in the first semi final of Euro 2012. The all Iberia affair is a mouth-watering prospect, with the flair of Portugal pitted against the technical genius of Spain. Kick off is at 2.45 p.m. and can be watched live on ESPN or online through live stream on ESPN3 (details below).
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In the past Portugal have been accused of being a one man team; relying far too heavily on playmaker Cristiano Ronaldo. In the World Cup in 2010 they certainly were guilty of that, however, since then a number of players have emerged from their ranks, and most level minded people would now look at this Portugal side and clearly see they are more than just one player. Spain will know this better than most and have experienced what this Portugal team has when playing at its best; in their last encounter together Portugal thrashed the reigning World and European champions 4-0. There are not many sides in the world that have pulled that off against this legendary Spanish team.
In that 4-0 win, Ronaldo was taken off for the second half - in which Portugal scored three of their four goals - showing they have a lot more in their armory than Ronaldo alone. The loss was Spain's worse since 1963!
Over the past five years Ronaldo has clearly been one of the best soccer players in the world at club level. However, he has often failed to replicate that form on the international stage. He knows that his long term legacy to go down as one of the soccer greats depends on him producing his best in a major tournament such as this. He has already produced an amazing performance against the Netherlands in the group stages, and was rightly praised for that game. However, it is in matches such as this - against the world's best soccer team, that Ronaldo needs to re-produce that form.
Spain have been as efficient as ever in Euro 2012 to date. However, their usual flair has been somewhat missing, according to some critics. They were rebuked by some in the media for their "boring" win over the French in the quarter finals. Maybe a bit harsh, as any other team in the tournament that beat France 2-0 with such ease would have probably been praised. But that is the level that this Spanish side plays at, and the expectations are extremely high. Not only must they win, but they must entertain and win in style.
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.
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