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Why you should back Portugal against Spain in Euro 2012

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Spain v Portugal (7.45pm KO, Live on BBC1)

The first semi-final of the Euro 2012 pitches the defending champions Spain and their Iberian neighbours Portugal in what promises to be a classic encounter.

Bookmakers heavily favour Spain to come out on top, going 1.95 about them winning in 90 minutes.

Portugal are 4.5 chances with Boylesports and the draw is a 3.4 shot with bet365 and Betfred.

Those odds about a Portugal win do seem on the large side for a team who have done nothing but impress throughout the tournament since losing their opening game 1-0 to Germany.

Their passing, link-up play and teamwork in subsequent victories over Denmark, Holland and the Czech Republic has been absolutely top notch, as has the finishing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo has been the star of Euro 2012, adopting a shoot on sight policy which has reaped big rewards.

The Real Madrid striker has scored three so far, and a remarkable total of 66 this season for club and country.

He has also has fired in a total of 29 shots, the most at a European Championship finals since 1980, and is there is little doubt that in his current form he is capable netting in this.

Paddy Power go 6.5 about him scoring the opener, and that looks decent value as does the 3 on offer with the same firm andBetfred about him netting anytime in the 90 minutes.

Nani is also a big threat when Portugual go forward, and at 15 with bet365 and Paddy Power is definitely worth a small saver in the first goalscorer market.

The key for Portugal in this match is to stay strong in defence and work hard to contain a hugely talented Spanish outfit whose midfield trio of Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta have controlling matches.

They totally dismantled France in the quarters, and have no injuries or suspensions to worry about coming it this.

The Spaniards will also set a new record of 11 European Championship finals matches unbeaten if they avoid defeat and have kept eight consecutive clean sheets in knock-out games at major tournaments.

However unlike France, who were content to sit back and let them dominate without ever really threatening on the break, I think Portugal are a side high on confidence who will be prepared to have a go.

Their pace up front is frightening, and if they do get their heads in front I feel that they are strong enough and classy enough to hold on.

I fancy them to win 2-0 or 2-1, and those scoreline can be backed at 26 and 19 respectively with Betfred.

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