Portugal v Spain preview

A large dash of extra spice has been added to the meeting of neighbors Spain and Portugal by the dismissal of La Roja head coach Julen Lopetegui, just two days before the game in Sochi.

Fernando Hierro has stepped in and promised not to change too much, as he expects a tough encounter with the reigning European champions, with only two goals having been scored in three tournament meetings of the two sides this century.

Spain to win by one goal – 3.35

Spain needed penalties to oust Portugal at Euro 2012 and edged a 1-0 victory on their way to World Cup glory two years earlier, so a goal-fest appears to be very unlikely, despite the array of attacking talent on display.

Also worth considering is the option of Spain to win to nil at 2.90, as although they are lauded for their fluent play going forward, being rock-solid at the back has been key to their successes at recent tournaments.

When that backline fell apart at the last World Cup, a swift exit at the group stage was the almost inevitable outcome.

Draw outright – 3.25

That defence has not been quite as sure as it should be in recent friendlies, with Spain having kept only one clean sheet in five outings, although a 6-1 thrashing of Argentina in late March showed what La Roja are capable of when everything clicks.

If you feel they may wobble again against A Selecao das Quinas, then a fullt-time result of a draw could be a way of covering your options, despite Portugal being largely unconvincing in their pre-tournament warm-up fixtures.

Sergio Ramos total tackles over 2.5 – 2.20

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will no doubt be desperate to put one over on some of his Santiago Bernabeu team-mates, including central defender Sergio Ramos.

Ramos is never one to shy away from a physical confrontation and will surely be embroiled in any flashpoints, should they arise.

He is almost certain to be partnered by long-term Barcelona rival Gerard Pique, who at 7.5 to make over 2.5 tackles is also worth keeping an eye on.

There may not be many goals in the game, but it is sure to be a tasty contest with local bragging rights up for grabs.