Portugal change forced in meeting with defending champions Spain

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As Portugal attempt to stifle reigning European champions Spain at 7/2, their manager Paulo Bento will be unable to name an unchanged line-up for the fifth game in succession.

Bento’s system has served his side well, seeing them reach the semi-finals of the European Championships for the third time in the last four renewals of the tournament.

He has also begun to get the best out of captain Cristiano Ronaldo, operating him in an advanced role on the left, but will be forced to slightly alter the dynamic of his side amidst Helder Postiga’s thigh injury.

That said, Bento is likely to make only a straight swap between strikers, with Besiktas forward Hugo Almeida expected to deputise.

The move could in actual fact prove a blessing in disguise however, amidst criticism Postiga has had levelled at him throughout the tournament, despite registering on Portugal’s run to the last four.

Almeida is a more obvious proponent of strong hold-up play, and his power could trouble the Spanish defence, as physical strikers often have done in the past.

It is worth noting that Almeida rounded off a Portuguese victory over Spain in the last meeting between the pair, and he will hope to notch again as he did in that shock 4-0 win.

1/1 hopes Spain meanwhile, emerged from their quarter-final tie with France unscathed, and reporting no fresh injury worries.

Vicente del Bosque appeared to have finally found the correct balance to his side in that outing, with it being La Roja’s most complete performance at this year’s tournament.

However, changes could be made, with the Spanish boss outlining that his side have been left ‘drained’ by their exploits in this year’s competition.

Fernando Torres is Spain’s joint-top scorer with two strikes, and could be in line to start for the third time in the tournament as he aims to mount a Golden Boot challenge.

Barcelona winger Pedro was impressive as a second-half substitute last Saturday meanwhile, and may be afforded a starting berth for the first time in Poland and Ukraine.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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