Portugal and Spain will pave the way for the other heavyweight clashes to follow when they feature in Friday's derby at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi.
Portugal vs Spain TV and Streaming Schedule
Canada: RDS GO, TSN4, TSN Radio 1040 - 1410, TSN GO, TSN5, RDS
France: TF1, beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports 2, beIN SPORTS CONNECT, TF1 Live
Germany: Sky Go Deutschland, Sky Sport UHD Germany, ORF TV Live, Sportschau Live, ARD Das Erste, SRF zwei, ORF eins
India: Sony ESPN HD, Sony LIV, SONY TEN 3, Sony ESPN, SONY TEN 3 HD, SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 2 HD
Indonesia: UseeTV, Trans TV
Malaysia: Astro FIFA World Cup 1 HD, Astro Go
Netherlands: NPO 1, Één
Nigeria: Kwesé FIFA World Cup, SuperSport 14, StarTimes App, SuperSport 3 Nigeria, SuperSport Live, SLGO, SuperSport 3 Africa, Canal+ Sport 1 Afrique, Kwesé Live, SS13
Portugal: RTP 1, Sport TV1, RTP Play, Sport TV LIVE, Antena 1 - RTP
Spain: TeleCinco Espana, Mediaset Sport App
Turkey: TRT 4K, TRT Spor Web TV, TRT 1, Idman TV
United Kingdom: BBC Sport Live, BBC iPlayer, BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live, TalkSport Radio UK
United States: Sling World Cup, fuboTV, Telemundo, FOX Sports GO, FOX Network, Futbol de Primera Radio, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
Football fans all over the world will receive the first of the treats lined up at this year's World Cup when the neighboring countries make their bow. Both Portugal and Spain are undisputed favorites in their group due to the caliber of players they all boast in their ranks.
However, only one team can occupy the top spot at the end of all the group stage matches and that is exactly what the outcome of this encounter might determine. Featuring alongside Morocco and Iran in Group B, a win for either side will supply the needed momentum to approach the other games.
Spain will particularly need the impetus after news of head coach Julen Lopetegui getting sacked rocked their camp on Wednesday morning. As professionals, this should not affect their mentality although the absence of the man initially mandated to call the shots in the camp comes as a huge loss.
Lopetugui – whose appointment as the new Real Madrid boss triggered his dismissal – did not lose any of the 20 games he oversaw as La Roja manager since he took over from Vicente Del Bosque in 2016. Under his guidance, the 2010 World Cup winners recorded 14 wins and six draws.
With Spain desperate to fix the impression after poor campaigns at Brazil 2014 and Euro 2016, the only objective will be to emulate the blueprint of Lopetugui – even with Fernando Hierro now taking over the reins.
Portugal, on the other hand, will aim to capitalize on the dazing development in the camp of their neighbors. The Euro 2016 winners sealed their spot at Russia 2018 by winning nine out of their 10 qualifying games and recorded some huge score lines on their way as well.
Their form in recent time, however, has not been quite atypical with them managing just two wins in their last five matches. Cristiano Ronaldo and co. come into Friday's encounter on the back of a 3-0 victory over Algeria and they will only hope that momentum gained will be enough to fetch them a win over their neighbors.
Spain and Portugal have met on 36 separate occasions and La Roja has frequently been at the better side of the results. They have been victorious in 18 matches and have lost just six times to the Seleccao.
Friday, June 15, 2018 11:00amFT Morocco 0 - 1 Iran 2:00pm Portugal vs Spain Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:00am Portugal vs Morocco 2:00pm Iran vs Spain Monday, June 25, 2018 2:00pm Iran vs Portugal 2:00pm Spain vs Morocco