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Neighbours Portugal block Spain's path to final

Reigning world and European champions Spain find Portugal barring their route to a third successive major final when the teams meet in the first UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final in Donetsk.

Spain celebrate victory against Portugal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup round of 16
Spain celebrate victory against Portugal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup round of 16 ©Getty Images

Holders Spain find neighbours Portugal barring their path to a third successive major final when the teams square off in the first UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final in Donetsk.

• Not since West Germany in the 1970s has a European team achieved a hat-trick of successive final appearances but Spain are just one win away from matching that feat after their triumphs at UEFA EURO 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Vicente del Bosque's men have a more significant piece of history in their sights, though, as they bid to become the first team to retain the Henri Delaunay Cup.

• Portugal will have other ideas as they look to return to the final, eight years after their 2004 defeat by Greece. Still seeking their first major trophy, they suffered elimination by Spain in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup but emphatically triumphed in the team's most recent meeting and now have the perfect opportunity for revenge against opponents they knocked out of UEFA EURO 2004.

Head-to-head record
• The Iberian rivals first met in Madrid in December 1921, Spain prevailing 3-1. They have largely held the upper hand ever since, with a record against Portugal of P34 W15 D12 L7 F70 A43.

• Spain enjoyed an emphatic victory against their neighbours in 1934 World Cup qualifying, winning 9-0 in Madrid prior to a 2-1 success in Lisbon. That nine-goal reverse remains Portugal's second heaviest defeat.

• Portugal were also undone by Spain in 1950 World Cup qualifying, succumbing 5-1 away before a 2-2 home draw.

Selected previous meetings
17 November 2010: Portugal 4-0 Spain (Carlos Martins 45, Hélder Postiga 49 68, Hugo Almeida 90) – Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon, friendly
Portugal: Eduardo (Rui Patricio 46), João Pereira, Carvalho (Pepe 46), Bruno Alves, Bosingwa, Carlos Martins (Manuel Fernandes 63), Meireles, Moutinho, Cristiano Ronaldo (Danny 46), Nani (Paulo Machado 88), Hélder Postiga (Hugo Almeida 76).
Spain: Casillas, Ramos, Piqué (Marchena 46), Puyol (Arbeloa 73), Capdevila, Busquets, Alonso (Llorente 58), Xavi (Fàbregas 46), Iniesta (Cazorla 58), Villa (Torres 46), Silva.

• Del Bosque included ten of the starting XI from Spain's World Cup final triumph but Portugal inflicted La Roja's heaviest defeat since 1963.

29 June 2010: Spain 1-0 Portugal (Villa 63) – Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, FIFA World Cup, round of 16
Spain: Casillas, Piqué, Puyol, Capdevila, Ramos, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso (Marchena 90), Busquets, Villa (Pedro 88), Torres (Llorente 58).
Portugal: Eduardo, Bruno Alves, Carvalho, Pepe (Pedro Mendes 72), Ricardo Costa, Coentrão, Meireles, Tiago, Cristiano Ronaldo, Simão (Liedson 72), Hugo Almeida (Danny 58).

• David Villa's second-half goal ended Portugal's 19-match unbeaten run as Spain took another step closer to the world crown in South Africa. Ricardo Costa's red card compounded Carlos Queiroz's side's misery.

20 June 2004: Spain 0-1 Portugal (Nuno Gomes 57) – Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, UEFA EURO 2004, group match
Spain: Casillas, Puyol, Juanito (Morientes 81), Helguera, Bravo, Joaquín (Luque 72), Alonso, Albelda (Baraja 66), Vicente, Raúl González, Torres.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Jorge Andrade, Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Figo (Petit 78), Maniche, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo (Fernando Couto 85), Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 45).

• Nuno Gomes's strike gave Luiz Felipe Scolari's Portugal their first win against Spain since 1981, as well as their first in a competitive encounter. It spelled elimination for Spain and the end of Iñaki Sáez's reign as coach.

17 June 1984: Portugal 1-1 Spain (Sousa 52; Santillana 73) – Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, UEFA European Championship, group match
Portugal: Bento, João Pinto, Lima Pereira, Eurico Gomes, Álvaro, Carlos Manuel, Frasco (Diamantino 76), Jaime Pacheco, António Sousa, Chalana, Jordão.
Spain: Arconada, Urquiaga (Señor 79), Goicoechea, Maceda, Camacho, Julio Alberto (Señor 79), Gordillo, Muñoz, Gallego, Santillana, Lobo Carrasco.

• Carlos Santillana's 73rd-minute goal for eventual finalists Spain cancelled out António Sousa's opener and left both teams with work to do in their final group game – and both duly progressed together, Portugal beating Romania and Spain overcoming West Germany.

Form guide
• Spain have lost only three of their last 47 competitive UEFA European Championship and World Cup fixtures and won 41 of them.

• Spain's record in UEFA European Championship semi-finals is W3 L0:
1964 Hungary 2-1
1984 Denmark 1-1 (aet, 5-4 pens)
2008 Russia 3-0

• Portugal's semi-final record is W1 L2:
1984 France 2-3 (aet)
2000 France 1-2 (aet)
2004 Netherlands 2-1

• Adding Spain's 2010 World Cup semi-final victory, they have never lost at this stage, whereas Portugal also lost World Cup semi-finals in 1966 and 2006.

Team ties
• Portugal coach Paulo Bento played at Real Oviedo between 1996 and 2000 and won his first international cap against Spain as a substitute in a goalless friendly draw in January 1992. Bento helped Vitória SC defeat Real Sociedad de Fútbol 3-2 on aggregate in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round. As a coach his Sporting Clube de Portugal side lost 3-1 away and 5-2 at home to FC Barcelona in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• As a player Del Bosque helped Real Madrid CF beat FC Porto on away goals in the second round of the 1979/80 European Champion Clubs' Cup. As Madrid coach his record against Portuguese clubs was W3 D1, including a 4-0 home win against a Sporting side including João Pinto, now Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) director, in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League.

• Fábio Coentrão, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2011/12 Spanish Liga title alongside Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Álvaro Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso at Real Madrid.

• Ricardo Costa and Jordi Alba are team-mates at Valencia CF and will be joined next season by João Pereira.

• Gerard Piqué was a team-mate of Ronaldo at Manchester United FC from 2004 to 2008, also playing alongside Nani in 2007/08.

• Piqué, along with Xavi Hernández, Víctor Valdés, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and substitute Pedro Rodríguez, was part of the Barcelona team that overcame the Manchester United of Ronaldo and Nani 2-0 in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final in Rome. Those Barça players all featured in the 3-1 win against Nani's United at Wembley two years later, Pedro scoring the opening goal.

• Ronaldo and Pepe were on the losing side in a UEFA Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid against Spain's Barcelona contingent in 2010/11, although Ronaldo's header did earn Madrid victory in that season's Spanish Cup final between the teams. Ronaldo also enjoyed a UEFA Champions League semi-final victory against a Barcelona side featuring Valdés, Xavi and Iniesta with Manchester United in 2007/08.

• João Moutinho and Rolando – who was sent off – plus substitute Silvestre Varela featured in Porto's 2-0 UEFA Super Cup defeat by Barcelona in Monaco last August, Cesc Fàbregas scoring the second goal.

• Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Raul Meireles were UEFA Champions League winners with Chelsea FC in May. Meireles tasted victory against Barcelona in the semi-finals, while Torres and Mata helped eliminate Nélson Oliveira's SL Benfica in the previous round.

• Rui Patrício and João Pereira's Sporting lost to Athletic Club in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League semi-finals, Fernando Llorente scoring the winning goal and Javi Martínez also featuring for Athletic. The Portuguese pair had helped Sporting eliminate David Silva's Manchester City FC in the round of 16.

• Hugo Almeida's Beşiktaş JK lost out to Juanfran's Club Atlético de Madrid in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 16.

• João Moutinho and Silvestre Varela helped Porto overcome a Villarreal CF team including Santi Cazorla in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

• Hélder Postiga and Rubén Micael play for Liga side Real Zaragoza.

• Ricardo Quaresma spent 2003/04 alongside Valdés, Xavi and Iniesta at Barcelona.

• Hugo Viana was contracted to Valencia CF between 2005 and 2009, with a loan spell at CA Osasuna in 2007/08.

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