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The Cup Running Over


June 29, 2010 4:21 PM

Instant Round of 16 Review: Spain Outlasts Portugal

SCORE: Spain 1, Portugal 0

TURNING POINT: The pattern was set early: Spain had the bulk of possession but instead of trying to attack down the wings, kept trying to force the ball into the middle. Portugal had the far better chances on the break. It was Spain-Switzerland all over again. But when 25-year-old Spanish striker Fernando Llorente entered the game with 30 minutes to play, the Spanish attack opened up immediately, David Villa began seeing the ball in better positions, and a few minutes later, Spain had its goal.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Llorente, who, in typical Spanish fashion, has also played for the Basque National team. The Portuguese didn't know how to stop him. Yet another Spanish star in the making?

BIGGEST SURPRISE: That manager Vincente del Bosque would even put Llorente in for Fernando Torres, what with less than ten appearances for the national team in his career. Sometimes a hunch pays off.

BIGGEST NO-SHOW: The Portuguese offense -- specifically its ability to finish. But you knew that already.

IF THE GAME WERE A ROLLING STONES SONG IT WOULD BE: Start Me Up

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