Titanic clash as Spain and Portugal renew rivalry in Russia

Titanic clash as Spain and Portugal renew rivalry in Russia
Silva and Ronaldo, Portugal

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Jun 15, 2018. 13:18

Spain are out to secure their first 2018 FIFA World Cup win when they face rivals Portugal on Friday afternoon in Russia.

The 2010 champions are out to rectify their errors following a disappointing run in Brazil four years ago.

After lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in South Africa in 2010, Spain failed to do the job four years ago as they exited the showpiece in the group stages.

Spain have their own troubles off the field of play as they get ready to get the ball rolling on Friday.

With coach Julen Lopetegui having parted ways with the side after taking the coaching role as the Real Madrid boss, the country’s FA have appointed Fernando Hierro.

In their previous matches, they beat Tunisia, drew 1-1 against Switzerland and demolished Argentina 6-1.

“Spain has to be above any name. Who better than Fernando to take over from Julen?" said defender Sergio Ramos.

"It’s an honour that he is alongside me. We have known him a long time and he was the ideal person. It shouldn’t affect us at all for the tournament.

“There is no split in the squad at all. We’re all our mother’s sons, of course, but the collective idea is the same for all of us: go for the World Cup.

"And nothing and no one is going to change that. We have to leave everything [else] to one side.

"I can assure you that the problems are gone. The sooner this starts the better.”

On the part of the Portuguese, the 2016 European champions will also target a win as they get their Group B assignments underway.

Coach Fernando Santos’ men are out to get back to winning ways, but are against one of the strongest sides in word football.

After beating Algeria and drawing twice to Belgium and Tunisia, the Portuguese will hope to start well against the 2010 winners.

The two countries have met on 19 occasions and Spain have claimed 12 wins compared to five for the Portuguese.

The clash will be staged on Friday, June 15 at Olimpiyskiy Stadion Fisht in Sochi at 20:00 (CAT).

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