A final for a semi-final.
This Tuesday (8:45 p.m.), Portugal welcomes Spain to the Estádio da Luz on the occasion of the last day of the group stage of the League of Nations 2022-2023.
A meeting between the first and the second of group 2 which will determine the selection which will obtain its ticket for the last four of the competition, in June 2023.
Nations League standings
Nations League: schedule and results
A few days ago, the Seleção was not in the best of positions since it was in second place in the standings, one unit behind La Roja.
But this Saturday night, things changed.
By largely winning against the Czech Republic (0-4), and taking advantage of the surprise loss of the Spaniards against Switzerland (1-2), the team led by Fernando Santos took the lead in this group 2 and now counts two points ahead of its Iberian rival.
That is to say that it can be satisfied with a draw to ensure its qualification for the semi-finals of the League of Nations while the selection coached by Luis Enrique must absolutely leave Lisbon with the three points for reach the last square.
However, despite this advantage, it does indeed aim to impose itself: “
Even if several results are possible, that will not prevent us from fighting for victory
, ”said Danilo Pereira at a press conference on Monday.
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Spain plagued by doubts
If Portugal approach this decisive match with full confidence, Spain are plagued by doubts.
Beyond his defeat against the Nati, it is the content of his performance that raises questions, even worries.
So skilful in the art of the possession game, she was unusually clumsy: "
Defeat always hurts, but you also have to take into account the opponent, who put us in a lot of trouble, who pressed very well.
We had the most messy first period I have ever known since the start of my coaching career,
explained Luis Enrique after the match against Switzerland
We conceded two goals from a corner, the first was well defended, the second could have been better defended...
Read alsoTops / Flops Spain-Switzerland: Akanji as boss, a two-faced Roja
More concretely, La Roja have offensive problems to solve.
If her coach has pointed out certain shortcomings in the depth attack, she still seems to be looking for her titular center forward.
For several months, Álvaro Morata was favored by Luis Enrique, but last Saturday it was Marco Asencio, whose playing time at Real Madrid is minimal, who was established in a role of false number nine.
And shortly after the hour mark, it was the newcomer, Borja Iglesias, striker from Bétis Sevilla, who replaced him.
Proof that Luis Enrique is still looking for the right offensive formula.
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Cristiano Ronaldo, X factor?
After a very complicated start to the 2022-2023 exercise, between starving playing time and a single goal on the clock, in the Europa League, from the penalty spot, Cristiano Ronaldo, silent last Saturday, could well let his pride as a champion burst.
In any case, this major meeting is a great opportunity for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to definitively launch his season.
And if overall, the Spanish selection has not been particularly successful for him, we all remember his incredible hat-trick scored against La Roja during the group stage of the 2018 World Cup. Can he be as decisive?
Answer this Tuesday evening.