Portugal Vs. Spain Preview: Cristiano Ronaldo And Co. Out For Revenge

There is no such thing as a friendly between Spain and Portugal. And even less so when one has recently knocked the other out of a World Cup. There may well be nothing resting on tomorrows friendly in Lisbon, but you can be sure that Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho will go out with revenge in mind.

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Portugal Vs. Spain Preview: Cristiano Ronaldo And Co. Out For Revenge

Little less than five months ago Spain and Portugal were preparing to lock horns in the heat of a second round World Cup battle in South Africa. Tomorrow night won't have anywhere near as much resting on it, but having been soundly eliminated by their neighbours in Cape Town, Cristiano Ronaldo and company will be gunning for revenge. A 63rd minute goal from David Villa settled their last meeting, and while time will have undoubtedly healed Portuguese wounds, Paolo Bentos men will want to set the record straight infront of their own people in Benfica's Stadium of Light.

Since their World Cup triumph, Spain have carried on where they left off, with a 100% record in qualifying for Euro 2012, strutting to victory over Liechtenstein and Lithuania and battling narrowly past the Scots. The only blot since that fateful night on 11th July has been a 4-1 stuffing at the hands of Argentina in Buenos Aires in September that said more for the standard of Spains back-up than any decline in the standard of their first choice XI. That day Pepe Reina handed Argentina the initiative with an uncharacteristic slip, while Lionel Messi produced one of his few scintillating performances for the Albiceleste.

Vicente Del Bosque is fully expected to name his strongest side for the friendly against Portugal. There have been concerns in recent weeks over the state of Xavi's Achilles tendons, yet the midfield maestro is expected to complete the full 90 minutes tomorrow. There is no doubt Spain (and Barcelona) are different sides with him in the middle. Elsewhere we will be treated to a preview of this month's Clasico. David Villa will line up against Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho, whereas Cristiano Ronaldo will be pitting his wits against Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol. Both sets of defences will be looking to score an early victory in the Clasico mindgames that will commence from next week on.

Portugal have got off to a shocker in their own campaign to reach Ukraine and Poland in two summers time, drawing 4-4 with Cyprus at home and losing to Norway in Oslo. At was at that point that Carlos Quieroz was finally put out of his misery and Paolo Bento was installed as his replacement. Since then Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo have regained their form for the national side, scoring four goals between them in the vital victories over Denmark and Iceland. Both are fundamental pieces of the jigsaw for Bento, and will be key to getting anything out of tomorrow friendly against the world champions. They will likely line-up in an attacking 4-3-3 formation, Nani and Danny flanking CR7, and the key will be to take the game to Spain. Their public will expect no less.

For Spain, Pedro has been ruled out of the tie after a bout of gastroenteritis, but bar the Barca man and Jesus Navas, Spain have a full choice squad to choose from. Vicente del Bosque has spoken of fielding a full-strength side out of respect for Portugal, something that will have Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola anxiously watching on. There will undoubtedly be changes at half-time, so expect a game of two halves. Spain will ring the changes, while I have an inkling Portugal will keep a strong side out for the long haul. That's what the scent of revenge does to a coach.

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