28 minutes: That was a hell of a goal…and it was Spain’s first shot on target. Gavi will be a very special player. It wasn’t a bad half move from Morata and Sarabia either.
…Having said that, Spain scores from a great counterattack quickly! Gavi squirms away from Bernardo Silva’s dash to the left of the center circle. He storms the flank and cuts the ground, rolling a diagonal lane toward Morata, pounding down the middle. Morata leaves the ball to Sarabia on his right. Sarabia brings it back to Morata, who comes home from ten yards. What a movement! What a talent Gavi is!
24 minutes: With that said, there are plenty of frowns and performance effects on the field, like pass after pass that fails to find its target. It’s as if most of these guys are talented after non-stop football over the past couple of odd years, and could do so with a proper break.
21 minutes: Ronaldo’s shot in the bunker of Portugal. To be fair to him, he’s not just sitting there with his face on. He will dream of coming and adding to those 115 international goals, I’ll be committed to that.
18 minutes: Jordi Alba poses a chip in the Portugal region. It was easily claimed by Diego Costa, who succumbed to Bernardo Silva for a long time. Portugal press Spain back, and Guerrero exercises some space on the left. Roll over to Leão, who should do a better job of ten yards than lean back and fire up. Unai Simon should have worked against Spain at the very least.
15 minutes: Things have gone a little flat meanwhile in Seville, with both teams looking very warily. Nobody has a mind to take a risk.
Goal! Czech Republic 1-0 Switzerland (Kochta 11). In the other Group B match, which was held at the Sinopo stadium in Slavia Prague, Jan Kochta gave the Czech team the lead.
11 minutes: Portugal starts pinging a bit. House crowd keeps the volume high.
9 minutes: Andre Silva makes good ground down the right wing and stops Busquets sarcastically. There is no yellow card, although you have seen them give you. I saw them Not Given to Busquets too, here we go.
8 minutes: Portugal are enjoying a bit of possession for the first time in the match. They don’t really go anywhere, but that’s not the point, because they find their feet and slow the hosts down.
6 minutes: Sarabia advances to the left and takes a nice shot at Gavi, who breaks into the channel in a large space. Once in the area, Gavi loses his running legs and walks over them in a frantic fashion. Spain’s promising situation is for nothing.
4 minutes: Portuguese hearts in mouths as Azpilicueta takes a dead-end shot. The ball is headed to Jaffe, who almost hit a shot from the edge of the penalty area. The ball deflected inches wide to the right, then at the corner Diego Costa, the Portugal goalkeeper, fell hysterically. He’s lucky to get a second chance to get the ball.
2 minutes: Azpilicueta and Morata try to blend in shaky down the right, but Pepe doesn’t have any of it. He resents the possession and gets rid of it.
Portugal starts the match in Seville. Rare old atmosphere as you can imagine.
The difference is out! We’ll be leaving in a minute or two, with Spain and Portugal front and center on this blog. “The official Tweet of Team Spain is very enthusiastic (EQUIPAZO!) but fair enough, a little oomph before it starts Never wrongs (maybe even later). But the remarkable thing is that our old friends Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets are still on the team. Age may be combined into three numbers.Maybe there is hope for all of us, wrote Charles Antaki, 99.
Spain and Portugal meet at the Benito Villamarín in Real Betis. Luis Enrique moved to Valencia’s Carlos Soler in midfield before Atletico Madrid defender Koke, but the big news came from Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who decided to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, and Andre Silva led the attack instead. As a result, Joao Moutinho was awarded the captaincy.
Fleetwood winger Buddy Lane, 21, starts at left-back for Northern Ireland tonight, as they start The League of Nations Campaign on the land of Greece the winners of the European Championship 2004. Liverpool’s Conor Bradley, who turns 19 next week, is lined up opposite, with 34-year-old Jonny Evans in the middle. Kyle Lafferty, after winning the promotion with Kilmarnock, is back in the squad for the first time since last September, and starts off the bench.
Bradley will come face to face with fellow Liverpool left-back Costas Tsimikas. Celtic striker Giorgos Giacomakis leads the line in attack, while Sheffield United’s George Baldock, who advances to Greece through his grandmother, is on the bench and hopes to make his international debut.
…and we’ve already got a spot of high drama this evening. With eight seconds of four more minutes to play between Bulgaria and North Macedonia in Razgrad, with a score of 1-1, the referee awarded the hosts a penalty when Martin Menchev’s fictional shot hit Vesar Musliu in the elbow. Despite this, the video assistant referee intervened, and on the second viewing, the referee decided that Musleu’s elbow was right next to his body, while there was little distance between the players and therefore there was no time to respond. Impunity, and Bulgaria ended the evening with smoke rising from the old lugs.
Cyprus 0-2 Kosovo
Bulgaria 1-1 North Macedonia
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar
Estonia 2-0 San Marino
Football, which has barely stopped for the past two years, is still going on. Just when we thought the guys could head off for a well-deserved summer vacation – long breaks, poolside sun loungers, little kids, all shebang – here comes the Nations League! Tonight’s big game is the Iberian showdown between Spain and Portugal, although we’ll also be watching Northern Ireland vs. Greece, as well as all the other matches starting at 7.45pm BST.
There were also some matches at 5pm BST, which will be over in a minute. More about them now. But in the meantime, here’s the full night pass (all times are GMT):
Czech-Switzerland (7.45 pm)
Spain – Portugal (7.45 pm)
Albania – Russia (C)
Israel – Iceland (7.45 pm)
Serbia – Norway (7.45 pm)
Slovenia – Sweden (7.45 pm)
Cyprus – Kosovo (5 pm)
Northern Ireland – Greece (7.45 pm)
Bulgaria – Macedonia (5 pm)
Georgia – Gibraltar (5 pm)
Estonia – San Marino (5 pm)
All the news and more as we have it. Nations League 2022-23: It Has Started!
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