SHARE


GROUP B

It’s the fourth game of the 2018 finals and we’ve got all the latest news ahead of the match in Sochi

The 2018 World Cup is under way and the games are coming thick and fast, and it’s now time for the first blockbuster clash as Portugal play Spain in Group B.

Both sides are favourites to progress to the knockout stages having been drawn with Morocco and Iran, but the two teams will want to register a win to start the tournament. 

Portugal players celebrate scoring in a pre-World Cup 2018 friendly against Algeria

Meanwhile Spain will be hoping their manager swap, which saw Fernando Hierro replace Julen Lopetegui at late notice after the latter signed a deal to become the Real Madrid boss, doesn’t hurt them too much.

The tie is being played at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, with the match kicking off at 7pm and you can hear it live on talkSPORT.

What the managers and players are saying

Joao Moutinho (Portugal)

“Portugal is among the candidates to take this cup home. It is normal to have other favourites given all they have achieved. We are European champions but that doesn’t give us the right to be favourites.

“We have a young and focussed team and an ambitious team that is aiming high.”

Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho talks ahead of their World Cup 2018 match with Spain.

Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho talks ahead of their World Cup 2018 match with Spain.

Fernando Hierro (Spain): 

“Our goal is to fight for the World Cup trophy and that is what I have told them [the players]. It [the coach replacement] will not serve as an excuse.

“I told the players that we have an exciting challenge ahead of us and we cannot think of anything that will keep us from [achieving] our dream.”

Key Players

Portugal:  No one but Cristiano Ronaldo could be named Portugal’s key player, even though the nation’s greatest ever international success – winning the Euro 2016 final – occurred with him on the pitch for just 25 minutes. Santos’ cautious approach means Ronaldo must take on a majority of Selecao’s attacking play, and goals will be hard to come by if he is not playing. He netted 15 times in qualifying, almost 50 per cent of Portugal’s entire goal haul, but he does spread them around; he found the net in seven of the nine games in which he played.

Spain: There are a number of goalscorers in Spain’s squad, but finding a reliable striker has been hard since the 2014 World Cup. Alvaro Morata was left out of the squad, meaning Diego Costa will likely lead the line for La Roja. Costa has finally established himself as an important player for Spain having struggled following the change of his international allegiance in 2013. He was their joint top scorer in qualifying, with five goals in five games, and he has netted seven times for Atletico Madrid since joining them in January. One of the hardest strikers in the world to defend against, Costa brings a consistent goal threat to Spain, and he’ll also alleviate the pressure on the attacking midfield players such as Isco, David Silva and Andres Iniesta, allowing them more time and space to express themselves in the final third.

Predicted XIs

Portugal: Rui Patricio; Raphael Guerreiro, Jose Fonte, Pepe, Cedric; Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, William, Bernardo Silva; Cristiano Ronaldo, Goncalo Guedes

Spain: David De Gea; Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Nacho; Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcantara; Andres Iniesta, Isco, David Silva; Diego Costa

Spain legend Fernando Hierro is presented as the head coach to replace Julen Lopetegui.

Spain legend Fernando Hierro is presented as the head coach to replace Julen Lopetegui.

Where can I stream Portugal v Spain?

The fourth game of World Cup 2018 in Russia will be live on talkSPORT. We’ll bring you commentary from 7pm.

You can listen live by clicking this link – Portugal v Spain.


talkSPORT will be with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with over 800 hours of World Cup content and all 64 games live across the talkSPORT network.


LEAVE A REPLY