Portugal boss Fernando Santos not expecting Spanish surprise


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Portugal boss Fernando Santos is not expecting any surprises from Spain despite the departure of coach Julen Lopetegui earlier this week.

Lopetegui was surprisingly sacked from his role as Spain boss on the eve of the World Cup finals and less than 24 hours after it was revealed he would be taking over as Real Madrid boss after the tournament.

Fernando Hierro was quickly drafted in as Lopetegui’s replacement and he will take charge of the 2010 world champions for the first time when they take on Portugal in their Group B opener at Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium on Friday.

The shock of Lopetegui’s departure could well have an effect on Spain during that match, but Santos does not think that will be the case and he knows his side will have to be on the top of their game if they are to begin the tournament with a victory.

“It’s Spain and Portugal,” Santos told reporters.

“Spain has played like that for 10 years. There isn’t going to be surprises. Therefore what is important is the team who will play. No more than that.”

Santos’ views were echoed by Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho, who believes Spain will continue to play with the same style that has seen them win three major international tournaments over the last decade.

“Positive [effect on Portugal] maybe? Spain have prepared themselves best possible way,” Moutinho said.

“They have been preparing for a few weeks. This change won’t really alter the way they play. They will stick to what they’ve been doing throughout qualifying.”

Portugal are priced at 3.80 to kick-off their tournament with a victory, while Spain are available at 2.10 and the draw is on offer at 3.30.

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