EURO 2012 Semi Finals - Spain v. Portugal Betting Odds

Spain enters the semi final match as a slight favorite with a moneyline bet of (-120) at Bovada Sportsbook

Early in the tournament it looked as though Spain, favored to win the tournament, would not make it very far at all. Their first game was a draw to Italy; they beat Ireland handily, but then just beat Croatia by one goal. It was not until the Quarter Finals that Spain began to look like the team it was touted to be with a 2-0 victory over France. Spain will be facing the Cristiano Ronaldo lead Portugal who have been looking very good as of late. Interestingly, Spain’s last defeat in a UEFA European Championship final tournament was to Portugal in 2004.

Portugal is preparing to come out against Spain with no surprises. Head coach Paulo Bento has said the team will play with the same tactics as always, not wanting to change for anyone. Look for Ronaldo to be critical for Portugal and closely supported by his Real Madrid teammate Fábio Coentrão. Portugal is not content to lean on Ronaldo but it is a fact that he has had more shots in this tournament than any player in EURO history and 14 of which have been on goal. Across the flank from Ronaldo is Nani who has had 19 shots on goal. But to win this game against Spain, Portugal will need to do more than attack. Spain has more than twice the completed passes and has controlled possession 61% of the time in this tournament.

Spain’s chief scout, Paco Jiménez, has said that he will emphasize to his team that Portugal is more than just Ronaldo. They expect Portugal to likewise be strong with possession and quick on the counter attack. During the FIFA World Cup in 2010 Spain was able to shut down Ronaldo in their victory over Portugal, Spain’s head coach is taking solace in this win as an indication that his team can repeat that formula for victory. However, Spain also lost 4-0 to Portugal in a friendly match four months after the World Cup. Fortunately for Spain, head coach Vicente del Bosque, seems to have a knack for finding just the right substitute to change the tide of a game if things are at a stalemate or if strategy needs to be shifted mid-game. This was true in South Africa in 2010, the Ireland game during this tournament’s Group Stage, and just last game against France. Spain has plenty of great players to draw from; and some have yet to see the field.

Portugal will be without starting striker Hélder Postiga who left the quarter final game after a serious thigh injury. Replacing him will be Hugo Almeida who, incidentally, scored the final goal in Portugal’s 4-0 defeat of Spain in their last friendly match of 2010. Otherwise the Portugal lineup will not change. But Spain seems to shine in competitive games having been undefeated in the past 14 such games. Spain is the favored team to win with a -120 Moneyline (Portugal +350) while the over/under is 2 goals.

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