June 24, 2012
Iberian rivals set to do battle
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
KIEV, UKRAINE - The dislike between the neighbouring countries of Spain and Portugal was summed up in one splashy headline in the Portuguese sports newspaper Record on Sunday.
“Portugal is not scared of the Spaniards,” it blared.
Such is the animosity between the fan bases of these two Iberian Peninsula nations, especially from the Portuguese end where supporters feel the big bad Spaniards are arrogant and aloof.
Spain and Portugal meet on Wednesday at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk for the right to go to the final of Euro 2012. Spain eliminated Portugal during the knockout stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The rivalry has even reached the government level.
“I would like nothing more than to beat Spain at the Euro,” said Portuguese politician Manuel Monteiro.
The Spanish have won 16 of the 34 all-time meetings between the countries, the Portuguese just six. But Portugal did inflict a 4-0 beating on Spain in a friendly in November of 2010, although there really is no such things as a “friendly” when these two sides take the pitch.
Jose Mourinho told me that we could be European champions,” said Portugal’s Pepe, who plays for the so-called “Chosen One” at Real Madrid.
In order for that to happen, Ronaldo and friends will have to find some way to beat their bitter foes on Wednesday.