29th of June 2010

The national team defeats Portugal at the last sixteen with Torres and Pedro (1-0)

España goes one step forward. Portugal fell against La Roja, who recovered its best version to give a push towards the quarter finals, where Paraguay already waits. Vicente del Bosque´s team took the initiative at Cape Town from the beginning and they didn’t drop it off, although there were some dangerous moments at the end of each half. The defensive line of Queiroz team resisted the pressure of the Spanish national team until the 63’, when David Villa broke the 0-0 after a move of Iniesta and Xavi. From then on, Spain went up and controlled the match having the possession, becoming friend of the ball and paying attention to the defence to clear the Portuguese tries, who could hardly look the three goalposts. Next stop, Saturday 3rd July against Paraguay which defeated Japan at the last sixteen.


Fernando Torres and Pedro played some minutes in this decisive match. The Liverpool’s ‘9’ jumped to the field within the starting eleven and played during 58 minutes, a time in which he made some goal opportunities and worked hard at the attacking zone. Pedro Rodríguez was the third change made for Del Bosque, jumping to the field at the 87’, so he could hardly show his quality with goals for Spain.

Del Bosque copied the starting eleven he used against Chile with Casillas, Ramos, Piqué, Puyol, Capdevila, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa and Torres. Fernando himself was the first to show the Spanish weapons at the first minute with a crossed shot with the right foot which forced the first stretching of Eduardo, with extra work, because Villa copied just some moments after the same move with the same luck. Spain played as it was planned, passing, controlling and looking for the goal calmly. When Portugal had the ball, then tracking back and reinforcing the defensive line to avoid surprises. Up, the left touchline continue bearing its fruits with more arrivals of Villa, while Portugal started the match with long balls and looking for the opportunity with set pieces, waiting for a shot in the dangerous zone.

The tries continued. In a quick corner kick, Xavi connected with Torres, who shot from the area with the right foot above the crossbar. The ‘9’ was making problems at the front, while Spain continued moving the ball easily at the midfield to break the Portuguese defensive line. With its eleven men at their own field, Portugal was waiting, surprising with dangerous counterattacks. Tiago tried with a long shot and Iker cleared in two times in view of Almeida’s insistence. An also Cristiano, who looked for petroleum in the Jabulani with impossible shots from near Lisboa.

Anyway, the game was clearly controlled by Spain. Xavi and Xabi Alonso gave sense to a plan based in Iniesta and Villa’s touchlines. The player from Asturias tried with the left foot and Xabi Alonso with a long shot. Nothing. Portugal’s net was resisting the attacking with Swiss style and the game slowed down, giving the ball to Spain and waiting for the mistake and the lethal counterattack. Meireles and Almeida confirmed the plan, and so did Simao, who also put Casillas in trouble. Tiago added himself to the attack heading a ball, certifying the progressive growth of Portugal before the half time.

At the beginning of the second half, each one continued with its role at the field. Spain, passing the ball, making moves and looking for the hole. Portugal backwards, resisting the attacks and looking for the counterattack. La Roja was the goldsmith and Portugal was the blacksmith, but in a counterattack the luck was about to play against Casillas when a ball from Almeida rebounded on Puyol’s calf.

The clash went from the Spanish control to the strokes swapping. Queiroz team put its lines ahead invading the territory of a short of ideas Spain. Then del Bosque started to make changes, he decided to change a striker with a striker, Torres for Llorente, at the same time Queiroz changed Almeida with Danny. The Athletic’s giant gave new ideas for the attacking moves, shooting to the goal a pass of Ramos from the right which could mean the first goal. A goal that arrived not much later.

At the 63’ Villa broke the 0-0. A move outside the line of the area made between Iniesta y Xavi met the player from Asturias in the area. He didn’t think twice and shot to the goal with the left foot, the goalkeeper cleared and the clear turned into the first goal of the evening. The national team celebrated it heartily and went forward looking to enhance the distance. Ramos almost got the second after an individual move, arriving from the right in zigzag and shooting strongly the ball. Villa also tried a shot from outside the area creating serious problems for Eduardo.

The final stretch of the clash was almost a Spanish monologue. With the goal Portugal lose its planning and was forced to do something they didn’t want: to attack. Their approach, long ball to Cristiano and little more. But La Roja was strong in the defence, very strong with Puyol and Piqué always alert to clear the ball. Even Llorente almost got the third shooting a pass from the left which went very near to the goalpost. The last seconds saw the red card to Ricardo Costa, because the slap he gave to Capdevila in his face.


- Match stats

Spain: Casillas, Ramos, Piqué, Puyol, Capdevila, Busquets, Xabi Alonso (Marchena 90'), Xavi, Iniesta, Villa (Pedro 87’), Torres (Llorente 58’).

Portugal: Eduardo, Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Carvalho, Ricardo Costa, Pepe (Mendes 72’), Meireles, Tiago, Simao (Liedson 72’), Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Danny 57’).

Yellow cards: Tiago 80’

Red cards: Ricardo Costa 88’

Goals:

1-0 (63’) Villa defeats Eduardo in two times with the right and left foot after a pass from Xavi.


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