Armando Franca/Associated Press
Portugal and Spain will meet in a crucial match at the 2017 UEFA Under-21 European Championship at Gdynia Stadium, Poland, on Tuesday. Both teams got off to winning starts in Group B on Saturday after showing too much class for Serbia and Macedonia, respectively.
These two are among the most fancied teams at the tournament and are loaded with attacking talent. It means goals are likely between a pair of forward-thinking squads.
Before a preview, here are the schedule and live-streaming details:
Date: Tuesday, June 20
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST, 2:45 p.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports 1
Live Stream: Sky Go
Expect an intriguing and fierce midfield battle between two sides fully loaded in the middle. Portugal can rely on the brute force of Bayern Munich star Renato Sanches, while Porto’s Ruben Neves is an intelligent holding player.
Neves and Sanches can provide the platform for gifted winger Bruma and mercurial forward Goncalo Guedes to thrive in the final third. Guedes in particular has been in prolific form at international level, after netting the first goal in Spain’s 2-0 win over Serbia per Squawka Football:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Gonçalo Guedes’ last two games for Portugal U21s: ⚽️ vs. Serbia 🇷🇸 ⚽️⚽️ vs. Liechtenstein 🇱🇮 Getting in on the act. https://t.co/5s5lPbJpXE
Yet as much as Portugal can count on quality in the middle, Spain’s midfield is also brimming with talent. It starts with Atletico Madrid’s box-to-box dynamo Saul Niguez. He is joined by Barcelona schemer Denis Suarez and Real Madrid’s precocious budding star Marco Asensio, who scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Macedonia.
Meanwhile, wingers Dani Ceballos and Gerard Deulofeu offer width and trickery. Real Betis ace Ceballos has established a niche for beating defenders in one-on-one situations with the ball at his feet, per WhoScored.com:
Dani Ceballos: Only Neymar (5.6) and Lionel Messi (3.7) completed more dribbles per game than Ceballos (2.7) in La Liga last season https://t.co/IWH10mel1p
Further forward, Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams has the direct pace to stretch any defence at the tournament. His quickness, along with smart and varied movement off the ball, offer the perfect foil for Spain’s creative, possession-based game.
Portugal have the quality to win this competition, but Spain appear too talented for any squad to compete with. Asensio, Niguez and Co. will ultimately have too much for Sanches and his team-mates.
Prediction: Portugal 2-3 Spain