E&T World Cup blog: day nineteen, Spain vs Portugal

“Local” derbies: football loves ’em. As if yesterday’s Grand South American Smackdown between Brazil and Chile wasn’t enough, today we have the Incredible Iberian Imbroglio, as Spain take on Portugal, sangria takes on sherry, chorizo takes on sardines. Spicy!

Some psychedelic sardines, earlier today
Some psychedelic sardines, earlier today

At the start of the tournament, our footballing panel man, Chris Day, made the point that Portugal will have had the tougher qualification at the group stages – playing Ivory Coast, Brazil and, OK, North Korea – so may be better prepared than Spain for A Big Match. Spain of course lost to Switzerland in their opening game and subsequently overcame Honduras and Chile, but not all that convincingly.

So are Portugal the more hopped up of the two? Or will Spain move up a gear and play like the World Cup heirs apparent they are expected to be? Whose star will shine brightest tonight: Ronaldo or Villa? It should be a terrific game, because there can only be one winner.

Funnily enough, we’ve had no penalty shoot-outs so far in this tournament and long may that continue. E&T never liked the golden goal idea, but deciding a match in open play is much more in keeping with the spirit of the game. Then you don’t get two teams running down the clock for the last 10 minutes, hoping to limp through to the penalties, when anything can happen.

Anyway, now we’ve openly discussed penalty shoot-outs and expressed our aversion to them, we’re virtually guaranteed one tonight. Sorry about that.

Here are today’s predictions from our panel:

  • Dr Ian McHale, a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Salford: “It has to be Spain. As a Liverpool fan, I am now adopting Spain as my team to watch. This is where Torres will start to perform (maybe). I hope Portugal don’t upset me.”
  • David Williams, head of PR at Ladbrokes: “Spain.”
  • Chris Day, goalkeeper for Stevenage FC: “3-1 to Spain.”
  • Laura Daligan, ‘psychic, artist and pin-up’: “I see Spain, though I feel Portugal play better at first.”

So that’s Spain, Spain, Spain and Spain. E&T fancies Portugal, as it happens. Just thought we’d throw that in to the mix.

These are just predictions, of course – what will the reality be? Why not add your comments and predictions below? Yesterday’s predictions was a 100 per cent clean sweep for the panel, although even my Mum thought Brazil would win!

Remember: this is just for fun and all predictions are for entertainment only. Any mortgages lost or other sums squandered based on the information supplied are your own responsibility! And yes, I will keep mentioning this every day. Ay caramba!

Incidentally, if you want to read our magazine feature on the science of football prediction, I can heartily recommend it. If you’re not much of a reader, wear your eyeballs out on the accompanying football predictions video.

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