x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Fighting talk from Bento ahead of Spain game

Despite a friendly promoting the countries' joint bid for the 2018 World Cup, Portugal and Spain still hold grudges on the pitch.

Portugal host world champions and neighbours Spain tonight in a friendly match aimed at promoting the countries' joint bid for the 2018 World Cup.

But despite the gloss, fans of Portugal will be looking forward to an old-fashioned grudge match.

The last time the sides met was at the World Cup in South Africa in the last 16 where a second-half goal from David Villa separated the sides and sent Spain on their way to a triumphant final against Holland, which they would win 1-0 in extra time.

While Vincente Del Bosque, the Spain coach, said last week that the fixture would provide the perfect opportunity for both sides to showcase their talents as potential World Cup hosts, Paulo Bento, the Portugal coach, has other things on his mind.

"We want to fight, we want to play, we don't want to watch Spain playing," said Bento, who took over from Carlos Queiroz after Portugal made a poor start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

"They are the best squad at the moment, but we want to take advantage of this match to create our own identity.

"It is important to not let Spain impose its playing style. We are very motivated."

Nani, the Manchester United winger, meanwhile wants Portugal to put their World Cup failure firmly behind them.

"As a team we are not the best in the world, but as a group and as players we are amongst the best," said Nani, who missed the tournament in South Africa because of injury.

"We have to take advantage of these matches against the best [teams] to get stronger."

Spain will be without Juan Mata for the match at Estadio da Luz, after the Valencia winger pulled out of the squad due to having a badly bruised right knee.

1am, Aljazeera Sport +1