Portugal and Spain will fight tonight for the last place that gives access to the final four of the UEFA Nations League. The team's surprising defeat at home against Switzerland (1-2) will force Luis Enrique Martínez's men to win in Braga to usurp first place from the Portuguese team, two points higher in the standings.
The red one hasn't won in Portuguese territory for nineteen years. It was at the Alfonso Henriques de Guimaraes stadium, just 16 kilometers from Braga, when they thrashed 0-3 on the debut day of Fernando Torres and the late José Antonio Reyes.
Portugal and Spain will be played this Tuesday, September 27, at the Municipal Stadium of Braga, where the teams did not train so as not to harm the irregular state of the grass. The match is at 8:45 p.m. Spanish time and will be broadcast on La 1. The La Vanguardia website will also offer live minute-by-minute updates on what happens during the peninsular clash.
Since that victory, the Spanish team has played three more games on Portuguese soil: with two defeats and one draw. The first occurred in the group stage of Euro 2004 (1-0), while the second, in a friendly, came shortly after they were proclaimed world champions (4-0 in November 2010). The goalless draw was in another preparatory match in October 2020.
In a group that also includes the Czech Republic and Switzerland, which will compete not to be relegated in League B, Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal drew in the first round match (1-1) played at the Benito Villamarín stadium of Sevilla.
For this duel, Luis Enrique will line up an eleven with no less than four changes. The Spanish coach had already planned them due to the short separation between two demanding games, Zaragoza against Switzerland and now Braga. "The real game to prepare for the World Cup and measure ourselves in the highest demand is Portugal," admitted the coach, two months away from Qatar. He promises to take risks from the beginning to go for the win and for this he will bring in fresh players.
The entry of Dani Carvajal on the right side instead of César Azpilicueta is certain, more than likely that of José Luis Gayá by Jordi Alba, who shone against Switzerland but the lack of minutes in Barcelona makes it a risk that he will play two games consecutive in three days.
Spain's defensive insecurity at La Romareda could also cause adjustments in the center of the defense, where Diego Llorente and Hugo Guillamón await the opportunity. The first most likely to enter by Pau Torres.
Luis Enrique's changes will also affect the midfield, where Rodri awaits the starting opportunity and Koke Resurrection may also be a novelty. The attack will also present new faces with the return to a pure 9 like Álvaro Morata. The good level of Marco Asensio may allow him to continue in a band to the detriment of Ferran Torres who for the sixth consecutive game was left without seeing the door.
In this way an eleven Luis Enrique could opt for would be formed by Unai Simón, Carvajal, Eric García, Diego Llorente, Gayá, Rodri, Gavi, Pedri, Asensio, Sarabia and Morata.