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Spain face Euro champ Portugal in FIFA WC opener

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Moscow [Russia] | June 15, 2018 4:11:31 PM IST
Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo will surely be a key man for Portugal when they square off with Spain in the second match of Group B in the ongoing FIFA World Cup at the Sochi''s Fisht Stadium here 11.30 pm IST on Friday.

Despite Portugal and Spain being old rivals, their opening match in the showpiece event will only be their second-ever meeting on football''s greatest stage.

Portugal had endured a roller coaster ride in the recent months. The Fernando Santos-led side defeated Switzerland, Egypt and Algeria while they lost 0-3 to Netherlands and settled for draw against Tunisia and Belgium in their last six matches.

The Euro 2016 champions, who failed to make beyond group stage at Brazil 2014, will hope to see their players finding form quickly against a dangerous Spain.

Though Spain have been in impressive form in the lead-up to the showpiece event, they were hit by the shocking axing of their head coach Julen Lopetegui.

Lopetegui, whose sacking came after he was named Real Madrid coach, was replaced by former Bolton Wanderers centre-back Fernando Hierro as the manager of Spain for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Spain, who are among the favourites for the World Cup title, have remained unbeaten in the 20 games they had played under Lopetegui.

In the last 36 games against each other, Spain have won 18 games against Portugal.

The two squads are as follows:

Portugal

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes , Beto , Rui Patricio

Defenders: Bruno Alves , Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui , Pepe , Raphael Guerreiro , Ricardo Pereira , Ruben Dias

Midfielders: Adrien Silva , Bruno Fernandes , Joao Mario , Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes , William Carvalho

Forwards: Andre Silva , Bernardo Silva , Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins , Goncalo Guedes, Ricardo Quaresma

Spain

Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga , David De Gea , Pepe Reina

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta , Dani Carvajal , Jordi Alba, Nacho , Nacho Monreal, Alvaro Odriozola , Gerard Pique , Sergio Ramos

Midfielders: Isco , Thiago Alcantara, Sergio Busquets , David Silva , Andres Iniesta, Saul Niguez , Koke

Forwards: Marco Asensio , Iago Aspas, Diego Costa , Rodrigo , Lucas Vazquez.

while Uruguay face Egypt at 5.30 pm IST (Indian Standard time) , Morocco to meet Iran at 8.30 Pm IST.(ANI)

 
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