Portugal and Spain haven't produced a great deal of goal-scoring opportunities or truly significant events in the first half of their Euro 2012 semifinal, which means that Portugal have probably been the slightly better side. Their midfield is doing a great job at harassing Spain and breaking up play, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao are winning the battle down the left flank. It's been interesting as far as scoreless games go, but neutrals will still want to see quite a bit more action after a 0-0 first half.
Vicente del Bosque sparked a bit of a controversy and tactical debate before the match even started by picking Alvaro Negredo over all of Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Llorente. Even Sevilla fans were likely perplexed by the choice, which hasn't quite worked out. He's had a poor match thus far for La Roja.
Portugal started the game pressing Spain and looked to be doing so to some success until they had a bit of a breakdown in the 9th minute. Bruno Alves won the ball back in the penalty area following a cross, but he passed the ball right to Alvaro Arbeloa. The right back had a wide-open shot at goal, but smoked it over the bar.
It would be 20 minutes before Portugal allowed another dangerous chance, as they looked like the superior team for a long period. Their midfield did well to prevent Spain from playing their game, with Miguel Veloso keeping his position well, Joao Moutinho passing well and Raul Meireles playing the role of mosquito, annoying the Spanish midfield constantly. Unfortunately for Portugal, they failed to make the most out of this long period of good play, thanks mostly to poor long balls by Veloso and their defenders.
Spain created a good chance from an unlikely source, a long ball, in the 29th minute. Negredo provided his best contribution of the game by holding up the ball, then starting a string of passes that led to Andres Iniesta on the left side of the penalty area. He moved himself into a position to shoot, but hit his shot just over the crossbar.
Ronaldo answered with a chance of his own just two minutes later, taking a great touch to set himself up for a hard, low shot towards the near post, but he missed by inches.
The final 15 minutes of the half were a stalemate, with neither team creating much going forward. Portugal will be happy with their first half display, and they look like they're very capable of both nicking a goal and preventing Spain from scoring one. They don't have to make any changes, but del Bosque will have to consider altering his team right from the beginning of the second half.
We have live coverage in our Portugal vs. Spain, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.