Not all plane sailing for champions Spain

24 June 2012 08:23

Spain should as titleholders be seen as slight favourites to see off neighbours Portugal in their Euro 2012 semi-final - yet a factor weighing against them could be travel weariness.

Having based themselves in Gniewino, northern Poland, throughout - their group games were in the northern port of Gdansk - the Spanish have had to go on their travels as their quarter-final against France was some 900km away in Donetsk, Ukraine and they will return there Wednesday to face the Portuguese.

The Portuguese have also been border hopping - in their case between Opalenica and Kharkiv and Lviv in the group stage - but their quarter-final was a shorter trip to Warsaw.

In their case, however, they will have had an extra two days to prepare for Wednesday's meeting whereas Spain will be undertaking three three-hour flights in four days as they head into their showdown.

There is also the matter of the different climate - conditions in northern Poland are fairly fresh whereas the heat in Donetsk has been quite stifling.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque says such things are a factor.

"We got back from the game (against France) very tired.

"We are going to recuperate well (but) this 48 hours difference between games compared with our rivals is a bit of a handicap. We suffered in the heat and that's tough on players at this time of year," said Del Bosque.

Midfielder Andres Iniesta agrees that the players have every reason to feel the pace - yet insists that ambition and the thought of becoming the first team to win three straight major tournaments will drive them beyond feelings of tiredness.

"We will try to make sure we are fine. We are one match from the final and that says everything," said the Barcelona star.

Spain's backroom staff have been working hard to ensure that each player is given the best chance to recuperate after each game and on the plus side there are no injuries in the squad.

Nor is anyone suspended ahead of what for Portugal could be construed as a revenge mission after their World Cup second round loss to their neighbours.

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0