Spain and Portugal will open their 2022-23 UEFA Nations League campaigns with a glamour fixture at Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville on Thursday night.
The two sides have been drawn into League A Group 2 with the Czech Republic and Switzerland, and both will play four times in the competition in the early stages of June.
Spain reached the final of the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League, beating European champions Italy in the semi-finals of the competition, before losing 2-1 to France in Milan.
La Roja will take on Portugal, Czech Republic twice and Switzerland over the next couple of weeks, and the four fixtures will give head coach Luis Enrique a good chance to have a look at his squad, as he solidifies his plans for the 2022 World Cup.
Spain comfortably booked their spot in the finals of the 2022 competition, picking up 19 points from their eight matches to top Group B, and they will be bidding to challenge for their second World Cup crown in Qatar.
The European nation went out in the group stage of the 2014 tournament before being eliminated in the round of 16 in 2018, but they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and certainly look capable of putting up a challenge at the World Cup later this year.
Spain have played two friendlies since ending their qualification section, recording a 2-1 win over Albania on March 26 before beating Iceland 5-0 three days later, and they will be bidding to make it five straight victories in all competitions on Thursday night.
Portugal were made to go through the playoffs to book their spot at the 2022 World Cup, recording a 3-1 win over Turkey in the semi-finals before beating North Macedonia 2-0 to secure their position in the finals.
Fernando Santos’s side will take on Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea in Group H later this year, and they will be expected to reach the knockout rounds of the competition
Portugal have actually been eliminated in the round of 16 in two of their last three World Cups, losing to Uruguay in 2018, and their best finish remains third at the 1966 competition.
A Selecao will take on Spain, Switzerland twice and Czech Republic in the UEFA Nations League over the next couple of weeks, and Santos will also be using the fixtures to prepare for the World Cup.
Portugal and Spain have played out goalless draws in their last two meetings, both friendlies, in October 2020 and June 2021 respectively, with their last competitive meeting occurring at the 2018 World Cup – the pair playing out a pulsating 3-3 draw in the group stage of the competition.
Spain Nations League form:
Spain form (all competitions):
Portugal Nations League form:
Portugal form (all competitions):
We say: Spain 1-1 Portugal
This has all of the makings of a brilliant game of football, and it will be interesting to see how both sides are shaping up ahead of the World Cup. It would not be a surprise to see a home or an away win here, but we have a feeling that a tight fixture could end with the points being shared.