As for the Portuguese, they saw their dream of finishing among the top four in the competition disappear and had to deal with the second loss to Spain, this year. At the beginning of the year, the Portuguese lost the final of the European Championship to their neighbors, who became champions in the continent for the fifth time. Now, Portugal will fight for one of the lower positions of the Grand Prix, and on Friday, at 2pm, it faces Argentina.
Both teams had their tactical play defined from the beginning. The Spanish tried to hold on to the ball, waiting for a chance to attack. The Portuguese, though, without Ricardinho and Cardinal, suspended, defended deep and waited for opportunities to counter-attack. In the first half, both teams canceled each other, and the score remained goalless.
In the second half, the beginning was more promising and the Spaniards took the lead on 24min29 with forward Torras, who scored with a little help from a deflection on the Portuguese athlete. Soon after that, on 27min10, winger Borja to the Fúria’s second.
Portugal did not give up despite the two goals conceded in sucession. On 29min04, after some confusion in the Spanish area, Borja scored against, giving hope to the Portuguese. Heartened by the goal, the Portuguese pushed forward, and on four minutes from the end, wasted a clear chance to tie the game. To make it worst, as goalkeeper Luis Amado launched the attack quickly, the ball reached winger Rafa Usín, who received a cross and scored the third for Spain.
Portugal even tried to send in another player for the place of the keeper, but the Spaniards, reinforced their marking and waited for the final whistle to celebrate the spot in semi-final. “Despite the tight score, we kept the concentration during the whole match. This type of game is very balanced and it is necessary to keep the concentration and winning mentality”, stated Venancio López, Spain’s coach.
Defender Leitão, of Portugal, regretted the wasted chances and praised the adversary. “We had the opportunity to at least tie the game, but the Spanish are very strongly mentally and I think that their set plays make a lot of difference”, said forward Leitão.