Portugal-Spain to the left. Germany-Italy to the right. Euro 2012 down to its final four, and what a group. Today we begin with Real Madrid taking on the Spanish duopoly.
Portugal vs. Spain, 2:45 pm ET (ESPN)
Spain (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Piqué, Alba; Busquets, Alonso; Iniesta, Xavi, Silva; Negredo (yes!).
Portugal (4-3-3): Patrício; Coentrão, B. Alves, Pepe, Pereira; Moutinho, Veloso, Meireles; Nani, Almeida, Ronaldo.
How they got here:
Spain: Group C winner. Drew Italy (1-1), defeated Ireland (4-0), defeated Croatia (1-0). QF: defeated France (2-0).
Portugal: Group B runner-up. Lost to Germany (0-1), defeated Denmark (3-2), defeated Netherlands (2-1). QF: defeated Czech Republic (1-0).
Spain: Santi Cazorla has returned from the dead. Álvaro Negredo gets a start up front. And Andrés Iniesta is still the best. I have a good feeling about this lineup. If only Bruno Soriano were in place of Sergio Busquets, but I quibble. Álvaro Arbeloa against Cristiano Ronaldo is the key matchup for the suddenly stalwart back four.
Portugal: Nani is useless. Helder Postiga is injured. Hugo Almeida is a threat in the air, but the Portuguese wings need to provide more service. And then there's Ronaldo. Can he outwit his four teammates and inspire Portugal to a famous victory? No better place than here, no better time than now, as Rage Against The Machine once said.