Spain and Portugal in a lukewarm stalemate before the euro
Spain and Portugal both lacked firepower as they drew 0-0 in a friendly warm-up for the European Championships at the Metropolitano in Madrid on Friday.
The match was both an opportunity to officially launch the two nations by launching a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup and for the hosts to test a new defense.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a frustrating night in his first game at Madrid since leaving Real in 2018 and almost scored twice and created a good chance that Diogo Jota failed to take advantage of.
Supported by Joao Felix, Ronaldo was largely neutralized by Barcelona pair Sergio Busquets and Thiago Alcantara in a tight midfield in front of a reshaped defense.
“It was a very good test for us and I think we will all be ready for the European Championship,” said Spain coach Luis Enrique. “In the first 60 minutes we managed to almost completely cancel the reigning European champions, they hardly made three passes in a row”,
Alvaro Morata came closest to scoring for Spain, missing two clear chances and hitting the bar in stoppage time.
“I think we made enough chances to score,” said Luis Enrique. “I don’t get upset when my players miss chances, I will never blame my players for not being able to take their chances.”
Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte made his debut after switching to Spain before his native France.
Luis Enrique with Laporte and his central partner Pau Torres
“I thought they were both exceptional, dominant, with character, putting pressure on the Portuguese forwards.”
Portuguese coach Fernando Santos was less satisfied.
“We can do better, I’ll talk with the guys and we have the quality to improve,” he said. “They gave their all and it will serve us well.”
“We have the consistency to hope to win titles,” he added.
Some 14,743 masked fans attended Atletico Madrid’s 68,000-seat Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
They whistled when Luis Enrique’s name was read before kick-off and sang an anti-Morata chant when the striker hit the bar.
In the national team’s first match with a home crowd at the Metropolitano de Madrid, some spectators whistled his name when the lineups were announced, but Luis Enrique said that
“It doesn’t affect me if they whistle or applaud me,” the coach said. “It bothers me that they do this to my players.”
Spain continue their warm-up for the Euro with a game against Lithuania on Tuesday while Portugal face Israel on Wednesday in Lisbon.
pve / av / dmc / pb