In 2008 we saw Spain dominate the EUROs, a beautiful possession based dominance which was guided by Xavi and Iniesta along with David Villa and Fernando Torres. Spain have never won the World Cup, and this could be their best chance yet with a team full of skilled individuals. But the Spain that we're seeing in South Africa is a bit different than the EURO Spain, the first thing that's different is the coach; Luis Aragones was the mastermind who won the European championship for Spain, but now Vicente del Bosque is the coach.
While he hasn't changed too much, he's tried dabbling in a 4-3-3 with a more defensive midfield by taking out David Silva and putting in Sergio Busquets. This results in a less dynamic play than their 4-4-2 with Iniesta and Silva as quick moving wingers who slipped passes through defenses for Torres and Villa. But it's not that bad, Spain still play their patient game, just a bit differently...
|Sergio Ramos on one of his usual rampaging runs|
The first half we saw Spain be frustrated with Portugal's tidy defense, passes weren't as perfect as they should be, players lost the ball too often, and Torres was having yet another bad day. Nonetheless Spain still had the majority of possession with their tiki taka passing which was well parried by Portugal's organized defense.
But Portugal had the best chances in the first half, swift counter-attacks often led by Fabio Coentrao who was pure class at left-back for Portugal. Ronaldo always went down easily and he didn't get anything from the Argentinean referee. There weren't any memorable chances, just a couple of headers from Portugal going just wide, and a free kick from Ronaldo which Casillas didn't have too much trouble with.
|David Villa celebrating his goal|
After the goal it was over, Ronaldo was desperately lashing shots wide in his attempt for personal glory and Spain came close to a second with Llorente nodding a header just wide of the goal. Spain were the better team, but it took them some time to exert their dominance over Portugal.