Spain vs Portugal

Spain vs Portugal was arguably the game of the Group Stage already but the former World champions sacking their head coach Julen Lopetegui has added an extra spice to proceedings – as if it was needed.

Fernando Hierro will take charge of Spain – if only in name. It looks more like the players will govern themselves with Sergio Ramos at the helm.

As they look to find their feet, they only have to face the most destructive goalscorer at the World Cup in Russia in Cristiano Ronaldo. It will certainly be interesting.

Iberian rivals Portugal and Spain square off on Friday at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the second match of Group B. The neighbors, with plenty of familiar players and similar styles, go to battle in what is arguably the most highly-anticipated groups stage match of the cup

With Iran and Morocco in their group, this is a match that will put the winner as the strong favorite to win the group, while a draw will leave both vulnerable to a shocking upset and potential early exit. For the loser, even more so.

Spain enters this game in good shape overall, but it is expected to be without defender Dani Carvajal, who has just returned to training. He isn’t expected to play in this one, though.

After helping his side to an ‘unlikely’ Euro triumph last time out, Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates will be hoping to shock the world in Russia again.

The reigning European Kings have been given a tough test in their opening match as they face Iberia rivals, Spain who are equally seen as favourites to win the 2018 World Cup.

Though the camp of Spain is seen as disorganized following the sacking of their erstwhile manager, Julen Lopetegui barely 48 hours to this important duel, the former World Champions are still expected to give a good show on Friday.

HEAD TO HEAD:

Spain enjoy a better head to head record than the European Champions, the two sides have met on 36 occasions with the Portuguese national team claiming a win eight times and 12 draws and suffered 18 defeats from the Spanish team.

The teams last faced off in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 – Spain winning that one on penalties following a stalemate in normal time at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

Portugal vs Spain

Portugal vs Spain was arguably the game of the Group Stage already but the former World champions sacking their head coach Julen Lopetegui has added an extra spice to proceedings – as if it was needed.

Fernando Hierro will take charge of Spain – if only in name. It looks more like the players will govern themselves with Sergio Ramos at the helm.

As they look to find their feet, they only have to face the most destructive goalscorer at the World Cup in Russia in Cristiano Ronaldo. It will certainly be interesting.

Iberian rivals Portugal and Spain square off on Friday at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the second match of Group B. The neighbors, with plenty of familiar players and similar styles, go to battle in what is arguably the most highly-anticipated groups stage match of the cup

With Iran and Morocco in their group, this is a match that will put the winner as the strong favorite to win the group, while a draw will leave both vulnerable to a shocking upset and potential early exit. For the loser, even more so.

Spain enters this game in good shape overall, but it is expected to be without defender Dani Carvajal, who has just returned to training. He isn’t expected to play in this one, though.

As for Portugal, the team is healthy and led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who just won his third straight Champions League title with Real Madrid. There are no significant injuries for the reigning Euro 2016 champs.

Here’s how you can watch the match and more. And be sure to return a half an hour before kickoff for our live blog of the game:
How to watch Spain vs. Portugal

When: Friday at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Sochi
TV: Fox and Telemundo
Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Sportsline odds

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Prediction

The Iberian clasico goes to Spain, who take care of the Euro 2016 in rather convincing fashion, with a superior defense the main difference. Spain 3, Portugal 1.

Portugal vs Spain

The 2010 winners meet the current European champions and we are backing a low-scoring opening when the sides clash in Sochi on Friday evening

The build up for Spain’s World Cup opener has been calamitous with manager Julen Lopetegui sacked 24 hours before the start of the tournament.

La Roja have therefore had to improvise by appointing sporting director Fernando Hierro as coach for the competition.

The legendary former Real Madrid defender will lead an incredibly talented squad of players in Russia, yet the massive disruption to their preparations makes Friday’s game against Portugal even more of a challenge.

Spain right-back Dani Carvajal has been a doubt for this game since picking up an injury in the Champions League final three weeks ago.

He has been training with the rest of his team-mates this week, however, and could be in line to start, but Real Sociedad’s Alvaro Odriozola will deputise if Carvajal is deemed unfit.

The first group game at a major tournament is always vital and even more so when it pits the two strongest teams against one another.

Both will be focused on not losing and we could well be in for an extremely tight encounter as whilst Spain are notoriously strong at the back, Portugal have recently developed into a team that are tough to break down.

During their victorious run at Euro 2016, the Portuguese kept four clean sheets in seven games and if they are to have any hope of coming close to repeating that continental success, defensive solidity will be key.

While the dust of India’s Intercontinental Cup triumph was still settling, head coach Stephen Constantine was laying down a marker in the post-match press conference.

Inevitably, the focus was on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January next year. The Englishman stated that he has requested the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to ensure that the national team players are released for the pre-tournament training camp which is scheduled to commence on December 10.

India are slated to open their continental campaign against Thailand on January 6, 2019. That means that the training camp will be just short of a month.

Having had qualified for a major tournament after a gap of eight years, Constantine and his men know that they have to make it count if Indian football wants to make a giant step forward.

It is the timing of the tournament that throws a spanner in the works for the AIFF and Indian football. With December set to be a bust month for both the I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) if last year’s schedules are anything to go by, it presents a conundrum to the AIFF and administrators of India’s two top-flight leagues.

With the tournament slated to culminate on February 1, 2019 with the finals, that would mean almost two months of duty for the Indian team if Constantine is granted his wish. While a run to the finals is far-fetched for even the most optimistic of die-hard fans, progression to the knock-out stage is highly desired if Indian football really wants to make significant strides forward. Even that on paper looks difficult given the lack of preparations for the Indian national team.

Realistically, a window needs to be carved out for Constantine and his men in their quest for the continent’s biggest prize. That would mean that the stakeholders in Indian football have a very important decision to make and they might need to act soon.