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Nic Ladds 28th Jun 2010 - 15:05

Spain v Portugal - one for the neutrals, and there are plenty of us

Either Spain or Portugal's World Cup pain will continue for another year as another big name must exit in the attractive looking knock-out match.

Spain (Evens) managed to top Group H on goal-difference without really hitting top gear. They rode their luck as they edged Chile 2-1 in their final match and really must step it up as they cannot afford another slip up.

Portugal (10/3), as many expected, were runners up to an impressive Brail in Group G after a win and two draws. They scored a massive seven goals in the group stage but worryingly they were all in one match, the other two ended stalemates and goals could be hard to come by once again as they take on a well organised Spanish side.

These sides are geographical rivals and it could be a fiery, intense affair. Although I did expect a classic when Portugal took on Brazil and was left feeling disappointed with the 0-0 result (an unlikely 7/1 for Portugal to play out their third 0-0 of the tournament), this match should be different with both sides attacking from the off. This really is the highlight of the last 16 matches.

Spain are obviously stronger on paper and the pre-tournament favourites have looked good and clearly still have a lot of room to improve.

They are serial under-achievers on the world stage though and it still amazes me to think they have never made it past a quarter-final.

The squad must really fancy their chances this year though; if they can get past Portugal then either Paraguay or Japan await them in the quarter-finals so you would expect Spain to at least have their best ever World Cup.

Portugal on the other hand have looked impressive at times but have struggled to find the net. Obviously the result against North Korea was something of an anomaly and they will really need Cristiano Ronaldo to pull something unexpected out of the bag if they want to get past Spain.

Spain, unlike many other big teams left in the competition, can not only attack well but are solid at the back. With Casillas in goal and Puyol, Ramos, Pique and Capdevilla at the back - they aren't as top heavy as other sides.

When you have David Villa up front, anything is possible. The in-form Barcelona striker has six in his last six World Cup starts and is Spain's all time top scorer in the competition.  Villa is 4/1 to score first or an impressive even money to score anytime.

Fernando Torres has taken some criticism for his performances so far and it clearly not fit. Although I would never discount the lethal front man from scoring, I don't think he is quite ready but is 5/1 to score first.

If you are like me and now England are out just hope for goals, you can get some pretty good prices. I personally like the 11/10 on both teams to score in the match and also will be having a flutter on the over 2 goals market at 7/5.

I think Spain have enough across the park to win this match, and win the World Cup outright. I think they will win this match 2-1 (15/2) and make it to the next round with relative ease.



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