Deco returns for Portugal

28 June 2010 08:10

Deco is set to return to Portugal's line-up for their World Cup last-16 clash with Spain after recovering from a hip problem though Danny is unlikely to feature after sustaining a badly bruised leg.

Xabi Alonso is a major doubt for Spain with a sprained ankle, while Raul Albiol is definitely out after damaging ankle ligaments in training.

Spain forward David Villa has launched a staunch defence of Fernando Torres and believes he is "totally convinced" his strike partner will regain his scoring touch, saying: "I haven't really heard any criticism of Fernando and I certainly don't share a view of his performances being lacklustre."

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Villa has scored three goals from as many matches, however, his strike partner has yet to find the net in South Africa having only recovered from a knee injury just before the tournament. Villa though insists the squad are oblivious to negative reviews of Torres' performances so far.

Villa added: "Perhaps he hasn't scored a goal but he's done spectacular work. He really is very happy in the squad, he's made an enormous effort to help this team. Let's remember what state he was in with his knee a month ago.

"He is doing some excellent work, but forwards are always measured by the goals they score and I'm totally convinced that if he continues working as well as he is, he will score goals."

Meanwhile, Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz is relishing a "mouth-watering" exhibition of beautiful football and cultural rivalry in the Iberian derby.

Spain are revered for their footballing philosophy based on the 'tiki-taka' passing play of Barcelona, but Portugal have won plaudits too, not least for a 7-0 thrashing of North Korea in the group stage.

Queiroz has warned his side they must forget such previous performances and move on to a new level and he said: "This is going to be extremely difficult. Spain and Portugal play a style of football that, although somewhat similar, there are a number of differences between the two teams.

"I believe it's going to be a great game of football, a game with a lot of creativity, imagination, speed and great moves. At this stage, the round of 16, I expect a great show of football."

Source: PA