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Spain vs Portugal preview: chaos and opportunity for World Cup favourites

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Spain head into Friday’s World Cup clash with Portugal in disarray after manager Julen Lopetegui’s shock sacking.

Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui would succeed Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu on a three-year deal.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) subsequently dismissed the 51-year-old because the negotiation occurred “without any information to the RFEF”.

Fernando Hierro has been appointed as Lopetegui’s successor and he faces a baptism of fire against Portugal on Friday.

In what is expected to be a shoot-out for top spot in Group B, Portugal and Spain know victory will stand them in good stead for a place in the last 16.

Spain have won 18 of their previous 36 meetings with Portugal, with their most recent victory coming after a penalty shoot-out in the 2012 European Championship semi-finals. Portugal drew with Tunisia and Belgium before defeating Algeria in their final three warm-up games for the World Cup, while Spain drew with Switzerland and beat Tunisia.


Portugal Squad

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais), Beto (Goztepe SK), Rui Patricio (Sporting CP)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Aerbin), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ruben Dias (Benfica), Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester City), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting CP), Joao Mario (West Ham United), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William (Sporting CP)

Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting CP), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)

Spain squad

Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao), David De Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli)

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho (Real Madrid), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid)

Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)

Spain v Portugal Betting odds

Bookmakers have Spain as 21/20 favourites to win the game, with Portugal on offer at 29/10 and the draw available at 85/40.

Spain’s off-field issues has seen them pushed out to 7/1 to win the tournament. Portugal are priced at 25/1.

There is likely to be little to choose between the two sides and a 1-1 draw at odds of 6/1 looks a tempting proposition.

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