KATHMANDU: It was in the year 1921, Spain and Portugal had first played against each other, wherein Spain made a victory of 3-1 against the then Portugal.
The two Iberian neighbors are playing once again against each other in the first Euro 2012 semifinal at Donbass Arena in Donetsk.
Once again Spaniards and Portugal will try to stop each other, may be up to extra time or penalties.
Among the three Madrid players for Portugal-- Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao-- Ronaldo leads the Portuguese offence, and is usually accompanied by Helder Postiga as the main striker and speedy winger Nani.
Still, what Portugal may find difficult to break is Spain’s midfield.
Five Barcelona players - Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas—arguably make the best midfielders in the world.
The defensive line of Spain is guarded by Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid and Gerard Pique of Barcelona.
Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and Joao Pereira of Portugal are also considered as of possessing surpassing excellence in corners and free kicks.
Regarding goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, aka, 'Saint Casillas' of Spain has played a lot of games with the Spanish national team, while the 24-year-old Rui Patricio of Portugal also cannot be deemed as inexperienced, which otherwise will sideline his contributions.
In retrospect, Portugal had made a victory of 4-0 over Spain in a friendly match in November, 2010, which is seen as Spain’s gravest defeat since winning the World Cup.
Similarly, Spain had also restricted Ronaldo- who is always seen as Portugal’s key to trophy—in the second round of the World Cup two years ago by scoring 1-0 against Portugal.
''We're confident in how we play and we're not going to change our style,” said Alonso to Associated Press, who had scored both goals against France in the quarterfinals.
Alonso expects a close contest against the Portuguese.
Alonso, Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos who are in the national team of Spain are actually Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammates.
Having triumphed at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, Spain must take notice of Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Of course we have to take notice of Cristiano Ronaldo," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said to Associated Press.
Cristiano Ronaldo's three goals in two games against the Netherlands and the Czech Republic have taken Portugal to semifinals.
While Spain has not yet lost a game at Euro 2012, Portugal took a hop by beating Denmark 3-2 and the Netherlands 2-1 after losing to the Germans 1-0. They crushed the Czech Republic 1-0 in the quarterfinals, with a brilliant header from Ronaldo.
Spain entered semifinals by defeating France 2-0. They also dispatched Ireland 4-0, Croatia 1-0 and conceded one goal during their 1-1 draw against Italy.