A David Villa strike in the 63rd minute allowed Spain to get past Portugal 1-0 and move on to the quarterfinals.
Spain started the matched brightly with Torres exposing Portuguese make shift right-back Ricardo Costa as he tested Portuguese keeper Eduardo with a curling shot in the very first minute of the match causing the keeper to make a acrobatic save.
Eduardo was indeed superb in the early going parring away multiple shots from Villa, keeping Portugal in the game.
The Portuguese tactical setup allowed the Spanish to keep the majority of the ball with the Portuguese defence soaking up the pressure in the first half.
Indeed, the best chance for Portugal in the half was on the counter attack as a strike by Tiago was stopped by Spanish keeper Iker Casillas with the rebound nearly being met by Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida’s head.
A Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick late in the first half seemed to fool Casillas as the Spanish keeper bungled the ball but luckily over the head of incoming Portuguese midfielder Pepe.
At the end of the half, ball possession favoured Spain by a 60 to 40 margin with the Portuguese defence holding up well but with little in the manner of attacks.
Almeida was the lone attacking force for Portugal in the second half as he nearly opening the scoring on a brilliant run getting the better of Gerard Pique and seeing his crossed ball in the Spanish penalty area deflect off of defender Carlos Puyol and nealry into the net.
Portuguese attacks were few and far between as they continued their defensive approach and this would prove to be the their undoing in the second half as Spain began to look for the breakthrough and found it in the 63rd minute.
A sublime touch pass allowed David Villa to get behind the Portuguese defence and was left one on one with Eduardo who managed to stop the original stop but could do nothing as Villa slotted the second ball into the gaping net.
The Portuguese goal was breached for the first time in the tournament as the newly signed Barcelona striker had put Spain ahead.
Surprisingly Almeida was taken off for Danny by Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz four minutes before the goal though he had been giving Spanish central defence duo Puyol and Gerard Pique problems with his pace.
Fernando Llorente replaced Torres in the second half and nearly added to the Spanish lead as the 6 ft 5 striker caused Portuguese central defender Bruno Alves plenty of problems and caused Eduardo to come up with a great save off of a free header shirtly after coming in.
Portugal finish the tournament having scored in only one game and questions abounding about the future of coach Queiroz as he was criticized by players after the game for his negative tactics.
Spain will next play Paraguay on Saturday afternoon and with a victory will set up a mouth watering clash against either Argentina or Germany in the semi-finals.
About the Author
Written by Igor Henriques
A sports enthusiast with a passion for hockey,soccer,basketball,football, and baseball