It was a sweet night for Spain in Braga on Tuesday, as they overcame their neighbours Portugal to secure top spot with an Alvaro Morata goal. It sends La Roja through to the final four of the Nations League, where they will face one of Croatia, Italy or the Netherlands in the semi-finals.
That result could have been very different and by proxy, the interpretation of both performances. Portugal needed just a point to secure that top spot and looked relatively comfortable in doing so until the Spanish goal.
Speaking after the match, the Portuguese manager Fernando Santos lamented his side’s negativity in the second half.
“Spain did not create a single chance in the first half. We got there, but we did not score. We could not take advantage and in the second half everything changed. Spain pushed and Portugal retreated.”
“Spain are a candidate to win the World Cup, like Portugal. Things went badly for Spain three days ago against Switzerland and today it went well, that’s football. I already said that Spain would follow their same path.”
Luis Enrique’s side will be hoping that Santos is right. The current narrative says that Spain can be beaten by anyone but can also defeat any opponent, which took them within a penalty of European Championship final.