Barcelona 5 – 1 Real Madrid | A hattrick by Suarez in EL Classico

Barcelona 5 - 1 Real Madrid | A hattrick by Suarez in EL Classico

La Liga Highlights: Luis Suarez scored a hattrick as Barcelona punished out of form Madrid 5-1 in El Clasico on Sunday.


Barcelona went ahead through Philippe Coutinho early in the game at the Nou Camp when he latched onto Jordi Alba’s well-driven cross, and Luis Suarez added to Barca‘s lead from the penalty spot after being taken down by Raphael Varane. Marcelo gave Los Blancos a ray of hope five minutes into the second half, however, Suarez then met with Sergi Roberto’s cross to head in his second. The Uruguayan striker completed his hattrick as he beat Thibaut Courtois and substitute Arturo Vidal finally completed the thrashing in the dying minutes of the game.

Ivan Rakitic‘s incisive ball over the top found veteran Jordi Alba in loads of space who then managed to cut the ball back into Coutinho’s feet and the Brazillian rippled the back of the net.

The defending Spanish champions proceeded to flow onward at ease and after Raphael Varane took down Suarez inside the box, referee Sanchez Martinez awarded the penalty to Barca after referring to the Video Assistant Referee before awarding the spot-kick which was calmly converted by the Uruguayan in the half hour mark.

Madrid made an excellent start to the second half when Brazillian fullback Marcelo seized Isco’s deflected ball into the Barcelona box and rifled the ball into the net. Just six minutes later they almost completed the comeback when Luka Modric‘s low driven shot hit the post.

However, the European champions crumbled in the final 15 minutes of the game. Luis Suarez met Sergi Roberto’s searching cross to guide a powerful header beyond Courtois and completed his hat-trick soon after, lifting the ball over the Belgian and into the net after being released by substitute Ousmane Dembele.

Barcelona were not done with four and just a few minutes later Dembele collected the ball on the left flank and expertly dribbled forward before lifting a high cross towards the back post which was then headed home by fellow substitute Arturo Vidal, who got his first goal for his new club, to make it 5-1 in their favour.

This result leaves Real lagging behind in 9th place in the table after a third straight league defeat, while Barcelona return to the top following their biggest El Clasico win since 2010. The aftermath of this poor run of form is bound to be disastrous for Real Madrid after collapsing to their worst start in La Liga in nineteen years.

Barcelona face Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, 1st November before taking on Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Sunday, 4th November. Meanwhile, Real Madrid face Melilla in the Copa del Rey tie on Thursday too before hosting Valladolid on Saturday, 3rd November.

Serie A 2018/19 – Top Five signings so far

Juventus - Cristiano Ronaldo Day

The summer transfer window is always the busiest time of the year and this year it is no different. With many clubs having completed most of their signings, some meager some sensational, the next season bears promise to all. The Serie A has been the subject of awe due to one phenomenal piece of business that is sure to impact the whole league. 

Here we take a look at 5 of the best signings that have been completed in the Serie A.

5. Justin Kluivert – AS Roma | Read more…

Roma have signed Justin Kluivert from Ajax in a fee reported to be around €17.5 million, which seems quite reasonable for one of the most high-profile youngsters in the world with a notable potential. The 19-year-old Dutch winger will hope he can be a regular for his new club. 

4. Fabian Ruiz – SSC Napoli

Fabian Ruiz joined Napoli for a reported fee of €30 million after impressing in the La Liga last season with Real Betis. The young midfielder is arriving as a replacement for Jorghino, who recently moved to Premier League side, Chelsea. The 22-year-old Spaniard will fight for a place in midfield in Napoli’s new system under Carlo Ancelotti

3. Emre Can – Juventus

Emre Can joined Juventus after letting his contract with Liverpool run down. The 24-year-old was a subject of on again-off again rumours with Juventus since the start of this year and has finally completed a free transfer to Turin. The German midfielder will strive to be a starter in an already impressive Juventus midfield. 

2. Radja Nainggolan – Inter Milan

Radja Nainggolan has signed for  Inter Milan from Roma in a deal worth €38 million plus Davide Santon and Nicolo Zaniolo moving to Roma as a part of the deal. The 30-year-old Belgian midfielder has been one of the best players of the Serie A for quite some time and will hope to replicate his form for Roma in his new club.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus | Read more…

Cristiano Ronaldo just completed a €100 million sensational move to Serie A side Juventus after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid in the same year. The 33-year-old Portuguese skipper will earn €30 million a year.

Also Read: 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s ➡️ Juventus | Twitter reactions | Seria A Transfers

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo just completed a €100 million sensational move to Serie A side Juventus. Obviously, the internet is going insane over the sensational move. Here we look at a few of the reactions by fans, players, critics and organizations on Twitter.

The Welcome 

The Bianconeri fans were keen to show-off their Juventus Ronaldo shirts.

German international Sami Khedira expressed his excitement to play with Ronaldo again after they played together in Madrid.

The Juventus midfielder tweeted: “Benvenuto a Torino, Cristiano 🏴🏳 We had a great time together in Madrid, I can‘t wait to get back to work with you! Today is a special day for @juventusfc! 💪🏽 #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve #SK6 @cristiano”

The Farewell 

Another German international Toni Kroos gave his best wishes to the departing legend.

“Crucial for the trophies we won in the past years! A true champion. It was a pleasure playing with you! All the best, legend. @Cristiano” read Kroos’ tweet.

Gareth Bale also bid farewell to the superstar as he tweeted out: “An incredible player and a top guy! It has been a pleasure to play alongside you for the last 5 years. Good luck for the future my friend” 

Sergio Ramos wished him luck as well.

The Madrid skipper tweeted out:“.@Cristiano, your goals, your numbers and everything we’ve won together speaks for themselves. You have earned a special place in the history of @RealMadrid. As Madridistas, we’ll remember you always. It’s been a pleasure to play alongside you, bicho. Big hug and good luck!” 

The Stats 

BBC Sports were quick to point out the exceptional stats of Ronaldo at Madrid.

Goal created a video to excite the Juventus fans by showing off some of Ronaldo’s sensational records and numbers he created at Real Madrid. 

The Organizations

The official UEFA Champions League account tweeted to commemorate the occasion and rightfully so.

The La Liga President Javier Tebas assured that the quality of the league would be unaffected.

A statement on Marca read “At La Liga, we are above the name of the players, just like Real Madrid is bigger than the brand of Cristiano Ronaldo.”

The official UEFA Champions League account further released a video to remind everyone how big of a deal it is.

“Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016 “The numbers speak for themselves.” How many goals for Juve next season?” tweeted by the official UEFA Champions League account.

The Speculation 

Obviously, after the departure of the legend, people would start to look at replacements. And only a few people would seem worthy to fill his boots. BBC Sports were again quick to start a rumor involving Chelsea star Eden Hazard.

The media outlet tweeted out: “Chelsea’s Eden Hazard to replace Ronaldo at Real Madrid? It’s the gossip”

Top 3 players who could replace Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid

Mbappe Hazard and Neymar

Cristiano Ronaldo has been firmly linked to Italian giants Juventus. Reports from all around Italy suggest that a £88 million move is imminent. According to Goal, the Real Madrid talisman is close to completing a move to the Serie A side, having already reached an agreement over a four-year contract worth £26.5 million per season.

Now, with the 5-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner on the verge of leaving the Bernabeu, Los Blancos will be looking for someone who can fill the Ronaldo-shaped void in the club.

Here, we pick 3 players who could fill his boots at Madrid.

 

Neymar

Neymar, a FIFA Confederations Cup winner and Olympic gold medallist, scored 2 goals and provided an assist in his 5 matches for Brazil in the 2018 World Cup but failed to take his country as they were as they were knocked out by a powerful Belgium side. This Paris Saint-Germain forward also won the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup title with former club Barcelona.

Last season with PSG, Neymar scored 19 goals(3rd highest) and provided 13 assists(highest), 2.1 shots on target/match(highest), 7.1 dribbles/match (highest) in just 20 appearances and was awarded the Ligue 1’s Best Player award. Who knows what he could have done had he not been injured for the latter half of the season.

The PSG talisman has been linked to Real Madrid for quite some time now and the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo might be the perfect incentive for Madrid to go all in for the Brazillian.

 

Eden Hazard

Pacy, skillful and a master of both creating and scoring goals, Hazard is one of the most exciting attackers in world football. The Chelsea star is currently playing at the World Cup with Belgium and has already registered 2 goals and 2 assists in his 4 appearances in the World Cup.

Although he wasn’t at his best in the Premier League last season, he still managed to register 12 goals and 4 assists for a largely underwhelming Chelsea side. The skillful attacker has been linked to Madrid for years now, and the departure of Ronaldo could prove to be the catalyst to the transfer.

 

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe was in sensational form last season with PSG scoring 13 goals and making 7 assists in his 25 starts for the club in Ligue 1.

The 19-year old has been nothing short of extraordinary this World Cup. Mbappe has already scored 3 goals in his 4 starts for France. The young superstar was especially phenomenal against the Argentinians, winning a penalty and scoring a brace in a match that ended 4-3.

Mbappe still has a lot of room for development and if he were to get a crucial spot in Madrid, there’s no saying how far the golden boy could go.

06/07/18, Weekly Transfer Roundup: Who’s on the move?

WEEKLY TRANSFER ROUND-UP

With the World Cup ongoing, people might think there are not a lot of transfer news going around, however, that is not entirely the case. There are some genuinely significant deals which have been completed recently as well as plenty of rumours going around.

Here we take a look at the completed deals and the rumours going around through the first week of July.

Done Deals

Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad to Real Madrid)

One of the brightest young prospects joins one of the biggest Spanish teams in the world, ever hear that before? A move from Real Sociedad to Real Madrid might seem like the 22-year old couldn’t have had it any better. However, another young fullback, Theo Hernandez, who transferred to Real Madrid a year ago, did not have the best of seasons and was entirely insignificant. Odriozola will arrive as an understudy to fellow Spanish teammate Dani Carvajal, with the fee rumoured to be around £36 million.

Fabian Ruiz (Real Betis to SSC Napoli)

Another 22-year old talented Spaniard gets another big move. Fabian Ruiz joins Napoli from Real Betis, for a fee of £27 million, after impressing in the La Liga last season. The young midfielder is apparently arriving as a replacement for Jorghino, whose move to Manchester City now seems imminent. 

Yuri Berchiche (Paris Saint-Germain to Athletic Bilbao)

The third and final Spaniard on the list, Yuri Berchiche completed a £22 million move to Athletic Bilbao. It seems a surprise move as he had a largely successful debut season with the Ligue 1 champions as the first choice left-back. Apparently, he was not in the new boss, Thomas Tuchel‘s plans.

Alex Meret (Udinese Calcio to SSC Napoli)

Italian stopper Alex Meret just completed a big money move to direct rivals, Napoli. The 21-year old is set to succeed Pepe Reina in between the sticks. The move was reported to be worth around £20 million.

Sokratis Papastathopolous (Borrusia Dortmund to Arsenal)

The 30-year old defender recently completed a move to Premier League giants Arsenal FC. The fee was undisclosed but reports say it was around £14million. Read more.

Bernardo (RB Leipzig to Brighton & Hove Albion FC)

The young Brazillian fullback joined Brighton from RB Leipzig with the fee rumoured to be around £9 million. The 23-year old will hope to have a solid debut season in the mighty Premier League.

Rumours

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid to Juventus) 

5-time Ballon d’Or, 5-time Champions League winner, and the best player in world football; Cristiano Ronaldo has been closely linked to Italian giants Juventus. Reports from all around Italy suggest that a £88 million move is imminent. According to Goal, the Real Madrid talisman is close to completing a move to the Serie A side, having already reached an agreement over a four-year contract worth £26.5 million per season.

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City to Manchester City) 

According to several reports in the UK, Manchester City are set to break their club record in order to get Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. According to Sky Sports, the Algeria international could have his medical by the end of this week if everything goes as planned.

Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria to Arsenal) 

The transfer saga has been going on for almost a month now, with Arsenal fans all over the world biting their nails in anticipation of the announcement. After the Sampdoria President himself confirmed Torreira‘s departure, the fans are at the edge of their seats waiting for his imminent medical, which is likely to occur after Uruguay’s campaign in the World Cup ends.

Broken Records, Dreams and Hearts: End of the World Cup for Messi and Ronaldo

Messi and Ronaldo

Messi and Ronaldo saw their World Cup dream virtually shatter in front of their eyes. The two greatest Footballers of our generation have given us so much and have won everything there is to win except this one elusive trophy. Messi has won 31 trophies while Ronaldo has gone on to pick up an equally impressive 27 major titles, but it isn’t trophies that make these two special.

When Ronaldo and Messi are on song they beautify Football, every dribble that has so much complexity and technique looks so effortless when it comes off their boot. They’re both game Changers of the highest order, influencing a majority of their team’s wins and mesmerizing Football fans for over a Decade.

Messi made his debut back in 2004 and has been sensational for Barcelona. However, the Argentine hasn’t been able to replicate the same success for Argentina, not because of his performance but effectively because of misfortune. He went on to win an Olympic Gold Medal as his only major International honor. The Little Magician has appeared in 4 Major finals (3 Copa America and 1 FIFA World Cup Final) and has failed to come out on top in each of them.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been equally effective for Manchester United and Real Madrid. With the Portuguese National team, Ronaldo has had better fortune than his Argentine counterpart. Portugal, against all odds, beat hosts France in the 2016 UEFA Euro.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup is four years away, Ronaldo will be 37 and Messi will be 36 Years Old. The likes of Tim Cahill and Andres Iniesta have played in the World Cup well into their late 30’s. The question that arises is, will both Messi and Ronaldo still be at their prime by then? 

To be entirely honest what Messi and Ronaldo have achieved is phenomenal and can’t be measured by a World Cup. Not winning it, it’s the World Cup’s loss.

FIFA World Cup, Highlights: Uruguay 2 – 1 Portugal

Uruguay 2 - 1 Portugal

Highlights, Uruguay 2 – 1 Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo may not play another World Cup match in his career, and you know what? We should be okay with it. Uruguay deserved it, 100%. A South American country that has football flowing in their veins, winners of the Inaugural World Cup in 1930, Coach Oscar Tabarez will be looking to repeat that feat with his team post this 2-1 Victory.

Edinson Cavani, the most underrated Striker in the World?

Seven minutes into the game, Cavani put Uruguay in the lead after Linking up with Striking partner Luis Suarez. After lobbing the ball to Suarez, Cavani made an excellently timed run into the box and Suarez’s perfectly weighted cross found the PSG Forward’s Head and Uruguay were in front. Cavani had a great outing as he gave Uruguay the lead just Six minutes after Pepe’s header breathed life into the game. Rodrigo Bentancur’s pass set Cavani up on the edge of the box, and he put Uruguay back in the driver’s seat with a perfect curler slotted in the bottom right corner. 

Cavani who plays alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the French Capital and alongside Luis Suarez while playing for the National team has somehow always been away from the spotlight. Well, this performance will put him right up there with the big guys and give him the much-deserved appreciation.

Are the Curtains closing on Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup Career?

Ronaldo would be 37-years-old when the Qatar World Cup comes around in 2022, and with his fitness and Physical build, there is a genuine possibility of Watching him play one last time. But with the demands of the modern game and the fact that players don’t hit their peak form at 37, this may be it for CR7. The Portuguese skipper has been nothing short of brilliant and if this indeed is the end to his World Cup career as admirers of the game we need to brace ourselves for that, because there may not be another player with as much grit and determination as him.

I hope to see him in Qatar in 4 years time but if this is truly the end… Thank you, for everything and thank you for making the Beautiful game gorgeous.

FIFA World Cup: Ronaldo scores a hattrick as Portugal deny Spain victory

PORTUGAL-VS-SPAIN

Russia witnessed history in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo as he scored another hattrick for his nation in the World Cup on Friday. This hattrick denied Spain to declare themselves victorious in a clash of Group B’s most powerful teams.

Ronaldo gave Portugal the lead twice, only for Diego Costa to bring Spain level twice before defender Nacho scored a good goal to put Spain in the lead. It was the biggest twist when the Real Madrid man found the net with a stunning free-kick late in the game which denied Spain the 3 points.

A Fine Show

At first, Nacho brought Ronaldo down which led to a penalty in the 2nd minute.  Ronaldo kept his strong composure against De Gea and scored a fine goal from 12 yards away. Spain, then came back on level with Portugal when Costa fired a shot into the bottom corner. It was a brilliant and a controversial goal that led to more tension with 1-1 in the Iberian derby. 
Portugal then struggled for while and there was very little understanding in between the team members. Guedes failed to finish twice putting his team into more frustration. This match had a lot more left in it. Isco fired the ball onto the bar that landed right on the line but the goal line technology denied him the goal. Spain tried hard to score another and they were in better co-ordination than their Portuguese opponents. Portugal regained the lead right before the half-time as De Gea made a grave error which led Ronaldo’s shot into the net. With this, the whistle blew for half-time giving Portugal a 2-1 lead.

Spain worked the ball well but failed to finish the job several times. Nacho had an opportunity to score but the ball flew off the post. Their passes were accurate with perfect touches, yet they struggled to score. But this drought ended when Costa equalizes with a close-range strike at the 55th minute.

Immediately a few minutes later, Nacho scored a wonder goal turning the scoreboard around in their favor
. This marked an amazing comeback for Spain and it would have been a fairytale finish but it was not to be. At the 88th minute, Pique fouled Ronaldo on the edge of the box. The referee without hesitation awarded a free-kick to Portugal. The captain completed his hattrick, by scoring an emphatic goal. 

The match ended in a draw as both the teams scored 3 goals each. Undoubtedly, Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player on the pitch leading his team to draw against an arguably stronger team. This was the 51st hat-trick of his career.

Ronaldo shows no signs of stopping

At the age of 33, Cristiano Ronaldo was expected to have slipped from the Ballon d’Or pedestal by now. Instead, he’s refined and refocused his game to become football’s ultimate player. And every time he manages to make an impact on a big game like this,  he adds another achievement to his incredible legacy.

Just four minutes were required for Ronaldo to join Pele, Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler in the exclusive club of players to have scored at four different World Cups. At this rate, it is hard to see him miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Diego Costa is exactly what Spain needs

Diego Costa proved that he can be good at a World Cup when he has two working hamstrings. His performance yesterday was the perfect statement to those who mocked his unproductive display in Brazil four years ago, as well as those who doubted that he could be an asset to a squad brimming with talent. The 29-year old appeared at the moment of greatest need, scoring a brace for Spain yesterday.

The Atletico striker does not fit Spain’s style of football at all, and that’s exactly what makes him invaluable to them. His relentless physical ability and harsh style of play known occupy entire defences to free up space for the creators behind him. And when their delicate passing doesn’t get them ahead, he can still cause havoc on his own and get the ball through the net however possible. Both of his goals yesterday, epitomized what Costa does best and what his international teammates cannot.

Spain is not the same without Lopetegui

In the end, it was neither the silly penalty that Nacho gave away nor De Gea’s failure to palm away Ronaldo’s relatively calm shot. But it was Spain’s uncharacteristically inferior performance and sense of panic under the pressure that suggested the downfall of this vastly experienced group of players.

After the departure of the coach, Julen Lopetegui, who had overseen their revival since 2016, Spain did not play like the Spain that was expected to challenge for this World Cup. With all due respect to Fernando Hierro, Spain showed a severe lack of managerial experience.

FIFA World Cup: Top XI from Portugal and Spain

Spain vs Portugal

Portugal will take Spain on tonight at 11:30 pm (IST) in Sochi, providing us with a mouth-watering tie. The Iberian neighbors will have plenty to fight for as they both compete for the top spot in Group B. Spain and Portugal have faced each other on 35 occasions. Spain has 16 wins while Portugal have 6 and the other 13 were ended as a draw.

While Spain looks like the stronger team between the two, Portugal has proven their might in the recent major competitions, lifting the UEFA Euro 2016 and earning a third place in the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017

It was definitely not an easy task to delve into the immense quality of both the squads in order to pick the best players, but here are our picks:

GK – David De Gea (SPAIN)

De Gea has proven himself as the best goalkeeper in the world for the last few seasons. The Manchester United stopper is renowned for his inhuman athletism and charismatic form in front of goal. He has earned 29 caps for Spain and takes the spot ahead Rui Patricio.

RB – Cedric Soares (PORTUGAL)

With Dani Carvajal not yet reaching full fitness, he is highly unlikely to start the match. Cedric Soares earns the right-back spot ahead of Odriozola, who severely lacks experience with just 4 caps for Spain compared to Soares’ 29 for Portugal.

CB – Sergio Ramos (SPAIN)

With 151 caps for his country, Sergio Ramos is undoubtedly the first choice defender for any team. Barring his on-field antics and unethical style of football, the Spanish international is a force to be reckoned with.

CB – Pique (SPAIN)

Sergio Ramos and Piqué form one of the best defensive duos in modern football. He was a key figure in defence and a natural leader for Barcelona’s back line. The 31-year old has earned 97 caps for his country and takes the spot ahead of Pepe.

LB – Jordi Alba (SPAIN)

Alba is considered to be one of the best defenders in the world. The 29-year old holds 61 caps for the Spanish National team. His composed defensive style as well as ability to burst down the flanks and link up with attackers flawlessly makes a complete full-back and earns him a spot in this team ahead of Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro.

CDM – Sergio Busquets (SPAIN)

One of the most experienced and disciplined footballers in the world today, the defensive midfielder is a must have for any team. Sergio Busquets recently passed a century of caps for his national team. 

CM – David Silva (SPAIN)

The Spanish Maestro has earned 121 caps for his country and scored 35 goals in the process. David Silva had the most prolific season of his career last season with Manchester City and will look to replicate his form in the World Cup.

CM – Andres Iniesta (SPAIN)

The scorer of the winner in Spain’s last World Cup victory, Andres Iniesta still continues to have an impact on the squad. With 13 goals in 126 matches for the Spanish National side, he’s set to play a key role for Spain’s 2018 World Cup campaign as well.

RW – Isco Alarcon (SPAIN)

This World Cup will be the first one for Isco and it might as be his best. He has earned 26 caps for Spain. After gradually earning his spot in the elite batch of  Spanish midfielders, the 26-year old attacking midfielder has been in red-hot form for La Roja in their qualifiers. His stunning ability to dribble, create space and make through balls is a rare combination to have on a player and the versatility make him a complete player.

ST – Andre Silva (PORTUGAL)

Andre Silva gets the nod ahead of Spain’s Diego Costa. Even though Silva has not been a prolific scorer in club football, he has answered the nation’s call when he was needed to. At the age of just 22, he has 12 goals and 23 caps for Portugal.

LW – Cristiano Ronaldo (PORTUGAL)

Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers in history. The 33-year-old is the all-time leading goal scorer for both Portugal and Real Madrid. His spot on this team or any team for that matter is undisputed.

FIFA World Cup 2018, Pre Match Analysis: Portugal vs Spain

portugal vs spain

Portugal vs Spain
Kick-off Time: 11:30 pm (IST)

After the shocking departure of Julen Lopetegui, The Spanish National Team seem to be in a state of awe. La Roja get their World Cup campaign underway on Friday when they take on Portugal, who will look to take advantage of the shambolic state of the Spanish National team. 

Preview

Lopetegui was sacked by the Spanish football federation (RFEF) on Wednesday, just a day before the start of the World Cup when it was announced that he is set to take over as the head coach of Real MadridFernando Hierro is set to take the Manager role for Spain and it will be interesting to see how the players respond.

Portugal will be eager to take advantage of the apparent upheaval that is afflicting their rivals and a win in the first game would set them well on their way towards reaching the knock-out stage, with games against Morocco and Iran to come. Portugal, who come into the tournament as champions of EURO 16 will face Spain and provide us with a scintillating display of football.

Team News

Portugal: Fernando Santos has brought a very experienced squad to this World Cup. Players like Joao Moutinho, PepeManuel FernandesBruno Alves and Jose Fonte bring experience and grit which compliments younger players and their ability to thrive on their experience. Portugal should have a fully-fit squad available for their first match as they have picked up no fresh injuries from their tournament warm-up games and training sessions.

Spain: The departure of Lopetegui has the potential to weaken the prolific Spanish side but the quality of their squad should be able to handle the pressure. Alvaro Odriozola is likely to start at the right-back position ahead of the injured Dani Carvajal

Key players

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers in the history. The is the all-time leading scorer for both Portugal and Real Madrid will be key to how far Portugal will go in their upcoming World Cup campaign.

Spain: The captain of La Roja, Sergio Ramos was a key player in the teams that won two European Championships and one World Cup. Even though he is criticized for a rather rough style of play, the 32-year old defender is undoubtedly an impact player and will be crucial to Spain’s World Cup Campaign.

Form – Last 5

Portugal: W D |L | L

Spain:  D | D | 

Betting Odds – Sky Bet

Portugal 3/1

Draw 11/5

Spain 11/10

Score Prediction

Spain 3 – 1 Portugal: Even without the manager that formed the team and generated a prolific form like never before, Spain still look like the victors between the European Giants. One major factor which tilts the match to Spain’s favor is their recent form. They have not lost a single match since their 2-0 defeat against Italy in the round of 16 of the European Championships, nearly two years ago. The only team in the field that has gone longer without a defeat is Brazil.

Where to watch?

TV Channels (India) – Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony ESPN – 15th June, 11:30 P.M IST

In addition, you can live stream all the Matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup from 14th June to 15th July only on the Official SonyLIV App and the SonyLIV Website.