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Lisbon braced for derby epic

Published: Sunday 20 June 2004, 2.01CET
Not just Iberian pride but a place in the UEFA EURO 2004™ quarter-finals will be at stake when Portugal face Spain in Lisbon.
by David Farrelly
from Lisbon

Tournament statistics


Goals scored2
Total attempts30
Attempts on target8
Attempts off target20
Attempts blocked0
Attempts against woodwork1
Yellow cards8
Red Cards0
Fouls committed55
Fouls suffered61
Published: Sunday 20 June 2004, 2.01CET

Lisbon braced for derby epic

Not just Iberian pride but a place in the UEFA EURO 2004™ quarter-finals will be at stake when Portugal face Spain in Lisbon.

Not just Iberian pride but a place in the UEFA EURO 2004™ quarter-finals will be at stake when Portugal face Spain at Lisbon's Estádio José Alvalade. Should Greece take at least a point from their Group A engagement with the eliminated Russians in Faro-Loulé, only victory will provide Portugal with a place in the knockout stages of the competition they are hosting.

Ferreira to return?
Portugal delivered a much-improved performance in their 2-0 victory against Russia, but coach Luiz Felipe Scolari may once again tinker with his starting selection, potentially bringing Paulo Ferreira back into the first eleven at the expense of Miguel. Otherwise, Pauleta is still expected to retain his position in attack despite not having found the target in the competition. Scolari, who has been tight-lipped regarding his selection, may also resist introducing Cristiano Ronaldo from the start despite having impressed in the two appearances as a second-half substitute.

Two changes
Scolari's Spanish counterpart, Iñaki Sáez, has been forced into making two changes with Real Betis Balompié’s Juanito Gutiérrez expected to be introduced for the suspended Carlos Marchena while Joaquín Sánchez will replace the injured Joseba Etxeberria on the right side of midfield. These are not the only alterations: Xabi Alonso will replace Rubén Baraja in centre midfield and Fernando Torres will partner Raúl González up front, with Fernando Morientes dropping to the bench.

A nation expects
For the Portuguese, elimination at the group stage would be a major disappointment for a team that has invested in hiring a FIFA World Cup-winning coach in Scolari, and a team including world stars such as Luís Figo and Deco as well as several members of FC Porto's UEFA Champions League-winning side.

History favours Spain
History suggests that Spain will have the upper hand, as they have only lost on six occasions in 34 meetings against their neighbours. The sides most recently met in Guimarães in September 2003, when Spain recorded their 16th victory as goals from Etxeberria, Joaquín and Diego Tristán led them to a 3-0 success. The previous five meetings ended in scoring draws, with Portugal recording their last win in June 1981 when goals from Nené and António Nogueira gave them a 2-0 success in Porto.

Mind games
The Spanish have been playing up their record against Portugal, stressing that the pressure of potential failure will weigh heavy on their hosts as Spain require only a point to advance to the last eight. Ahead of his first start of the finals, Torres said his country's victory in Guimarães should act as "a point of reference", adding: "If we play like we did that day, then we will almost certainly win. It would be a failure for us if we were eliminated on Sunday. Spain have to be in the quarter-finals."

Poor record
Defender Juanito Gutiérrez hopes the 23-year run will give his side a psychological edge. "Portugal should know that they haven't defeated Spain for 23 years and I think that that is a far more important statistic than the fact that they play at home," he said.

Home advantage
But Sporting Clube de Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo believes home advantage will play its part. Stating that the friendly international last September now means nothing, he added: "Only the next game counts, not the ones in the past. We have learned from the mistakes that we made, and I'm sure that the friendly game we lost last year won't go down in history. But the game on Sunday will."

Spain: Casillas; Puyol, Helguera, Juanito, Raúl Bravo; Joaquín, Albelda, Xabi Alonso, Vicente; Raúl, Torres.

Portugal (probable): Ricardo; Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente; Luís Figo, Costinha, Deco, Maniche, Simão Sabrosa; Pauleta.

Referee: Anders Frisk (SWE)

Last updated: 20/06/04 21.02CET