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FOOTBALL TRADER BEN CLEMINSON TAKES A LOOK AT TONIGHT’S CLASH BETWEEN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

EUROPEAN champions Spain take on Iberian rivals Portugal in Cape Town tonight with the winners confident of beating either Paraguay or Japan in the quarter-final. Whoever succeeds will feel very confident of progressing to the semi-finals.

Portugal may have struggled in qualifying, but it isn’t always a negative to struggle in the build-up to a major competition and Carlos Queiroz’s side have kept clean sheets in all three group games.

Their best performance was undoubtedly the 7-0 crushing of North Korea, which sent shudders around the Sporting Index trading floor, but it’s unlikely we’ll see a game like that tonight.

Spain started disappointingly, losing 1-0 to Switzerland, but they have looked more like their old selves in the past two contests.

However, I reckon the defences hold the key to this encounter between two evenly-matched sides who will be desperate to avoid conceding early.

Portugal won 1-0 the last time these two sides met in Euro 2004 and I can see this being another low scoring game so the main bet is to sell goals at 2.2 with Sporting Index. On current form I find them quite hard to split and I’ll be backing the draw at 11/5 with Paddy Power, as well as having a small bet on no goalscorer at 7/1 with Stan James.

Spain are 4/9 favourites with William Hill to qualify and if they do progress, they are likely to be favourites to win the whole thing.

POINTERS...

Spain and Portugal to draw at 11/5 with Paddy Power

No goalscorer at 7/1 with Stan James

Sell total goals at 2.2 with Sporting Index