EURO 2012 LIVE: Portugal v Spain – follow the semi-final action as it happens
19:04 GMT, 27 June 2012
Follow Sportsmail's coverage of Euro 2012 as Portugal battle Spain for a place in the final when they contest an Iberian derby in Donetsk. The Portuguese have been inspired by the performances of their star man Cristiano Ronaldo in their march to the semi-finals, but the reigning champions have looked as impressive as ever. Send me your thoughts on the match at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.
Portugal 0-0 Spain (7.45pm)
Click here for the live goals as they go in
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao, Meireles, Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Almeida, Ronaldo.
Subs: Eduardo, Custodio, Quaresma, Nelson Oliveira, Ricardo Costa, Rolando, Ruben Micael, Varela, Miguel Lopes, Hugo Viana, Postiga, Beto.
Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Negredo, Iniesta.
Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Fabregas, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)
18min: Joao Moutinho delivers into the centre of the box but Sergio Ramos heads clear – Portugal win the ball back though and are starting to look bright again.
17min: Well that's just not very good. Ronaldo blasts into the wall but moments later his team win a corner.
16min: Free-kick on the left side of the penalty box for Portugal, after Ronaldo is caught in a Spanish sandwich – promising position this and CR7 will take it.
13min: But Portugal do have an ace up their sleeve…or a star man on the wing.
Cristiano Ronaldo picks up the ball on the counter, and sprints down the left before his near post cross is plucked out the air by Iker Casillas with Nani waiting to nod home.
12min: Bit worried for Portugal here, as they are starting to allow Spain to play.
Not too sure if it's intentional but they are hardly seeing any of the ball – remind you of a recent game
9min: In fact it's all Spain now and they should be ahead. Andres Iniesta breaks into the penalty box where he tries to square for Alvaro Negredo.
The striker fails to control the ball but it squirms loose for Alvaro Arbeloa who side-foots over from 18 yards.
6min: The Spanish seem to have woken up as they finally have a spell on possession. Neither keeper forced into a testing save yet.
3min: Strange start, Spain have hardly seen any of the ball! The champions have already had to defend successive corners as Portugal apply the pressure.
Kick-off: Spain get us going.
19.43: My goodness there are so many empty seats inside the stadium.
This can't be down to lack of interest (it's a European Championship semi-final!), I just hope fans haven't been priced out of a ticket – would you be surprised if they had
19.40: Out come the players and here come the anthems – Ronaldo even joins in with his Portuguese team-mates for this one.
Spain players remain tight-lipped but then their anthem doesn't have any lyrics.
19.37: Despite my praise for Portugal, my prediction is that they are going down 2-0 tonight.
I just can't see anyway past this Spain squad – much stranger things have happened.
19.34: Spain meanwhile have been lukewarm by their (very) high standards.
They are still the team to beat though, France couldn't get anywhere near them in their 2-0 quarter-final loss.
19.31: Portugal have been accused of being a one-man team in this competition but I think that is unfair.
Cristiano Ronaldo has indeed taken the tournament by storm, but Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho and Nani have been just as impressive.
Portugal look so much better than they did in the World Cup two years ago.
New partnership: Portugal's Hugo Almeida (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo will link up in attack
19.28: From InfostradaLive:
The reigning European Champions have been knocked out in the semifinals of the next Euros only once. (Euro 1992, Netherlands v Denmark).
19.25: Speaking of Ian Ladyman, check out his Euro 2012 diary here – lately he brings us what German back-up keepers actually do at major tournaments.
19.21: From Sportsmail's Ian Ladyman:
@bumpergraham tells me Negredo plays with specific instruction to put pressure on Bruno Alves. I presume he has also been told to score.
19.16: Some good news to bring you. Portugal legend Eusebio has been discharged from hospital, after being admitted over the weekend.
The 70-year-old has been in Poland/Ukraine to watch the tournament so it's good to hear he is okay.
19.11: Wow, turns out that Nuno Gomes strike to beat Spain at Euro 2004 was the last time they lost in this competition.
19.08: From InfostradaLive:
Cristiano Ronaldo will make his 14th appearance in an ECh match, equalling the record by Lus Figo and Nuno Gomes.
Showing your colours: Portugal and Spain fans wait in anticipation inside the ground
19.03: Don't forget folks, if you are out and about tonight you can still keep track of all the goals as they go in by having a cheeky look on Twitter and our Live Goals service that brings you every Euro 2012 strike as it goes in.
18.58: The last meeting though gave us goals galore.
Portugal ran riot to win 4-0 in a home friendly two years ago as Carlos Martins, a Sergio Ramos own goal, Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida contributed to the score sheet.
I very much doubt we will see a repeat of that.
18.54: It was the same scoreline at Euro 2004 too, but on that occasion Portugal were victorious as Nuno Gomes came off the bench to net thew inner and send Spain crashing out in the group stage.
18.51: Back to the match at hand, I've already stated my high hopes for this one but recent history suggests it might not be the game we all want to see.
The last competitive meeting was at the last World Cup where Spain edged a turgid affair 1-0 thanks to a David Villa strike.
18.46: While for Portugal it's Hugo Almeida that takes their striker's role in place of Helder Postiga who was crocked in the quarter-final defeat of Czech Republic.
Silvestre Valera again has to make do as a bench warmer.
18.43: Big calls in both camps then. Fernando Torres is once again snubbed by Vicente del Bosque, with Alvaro Negrado getting the nod over the Chelsea striker, Cesc Fabregas and even Fernando Llorente.
Rumour must have got out that the Sevilla striker eats three Weetabix's for breakfast – let's see how he handles his starting role.
A few quick stretches: Cheerleaders warm up prior to Portugal's clash with Spain
18.40: Spain squad:
Casillas, Pique, Ramos, Arbeloa, Alba, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Busquets, Silva, Negredo
Subs: Valdes, Reina, Albiol, Martinez, Juanfran, Fabregas, Cazorla, Navas, Pedro Rodriguez, Torres, Mata, Llorente.
18.35: Portugal squad:
Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Coentrao, Pereira, Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, Almeida
Subs: Eduardo, Beto, Costa, Rolando, Lopes, Custodio, Quaresma, Micael, Viana, Oliveira, Varela, Postiga.
18.30: Well the show must go on. With UEFA giving Europe two days off from Euro 2012 to mourn the loss of England* we are back up and running with the first of two semi-finals.
First up, Portugal take on Spain – on paper at least a fast paced attacking encounter is on display. Bring it on I say, as I welcome you to Sportsmail's live coverage of Euro 2012.
*That's what I tell myself anyway.
Stretching it: Cristiano Ronaldo prepares for his Portugal side's match with Spain