Spain spring Negredo surprise against Portugal

27 June 2012 06:47

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque unexpectedly handed a starting berth to striker Alvaro Negredo in the Euro 2012 semi-final against Portugal in Donetsk on Wednesday.

Negredo, 26, had previously made just one substitute appearance at the tournament, in the 1-0 group-phase win over Croatia, but he was picked ahead of Cesc Fabregas at the tip of the Spanish attack.

The rest of the team was the same as the one that began the 2-0 quarter-final victory over France on Saturday.

Spain's players will wear black armbands in memory of Real Betis defender Miki Roque, who died on Sunday at the age of 23 following a battle with pelvic cancer.

Portugal coach Paulo Bento changed his starting line-up for the first time in seven competitive games, with Hugo Almeida replacing the injured Helder Postiga up front.

In-form Cristiano Ronaldo lined up on the left flank, as he seeks the goal that would take him to the top of the scorers' chart.

Starting line-ups in the Euro 2012 semi-final between Portugal and defending champions Spain at Donbass Arena in Donetsk on Wednesday:

Portugal (4-3-3)

Rui Patricio; Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao; Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Raul Meireles; Nani, Hugo Almeida, Cristiano Ronaldo (capt)

Coach: Paulo Bento

Spain (4-3-3)

Iker Casillas (capt); Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; David Silva, Alvaro Negredo, Andres Iniesta

Coach: Vicente del Bosque

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)

Source: AFP