• Euro 2012

Almeida to start for Portugal against Spain

ESPN staff
June 27, 2012
Hugo Almeida will look to cause more trouble for Iker Casillas when Portugal meet Spain © Getty Images

Hugo Almeida will start up front for Portugal in their Euro 2012 semi-final on Wednesday and has vowed to repay Paulo Bento's faith in him when he lines up against Spain.

With first-choice striker Helder Postiga out injured, Bento will turn to Almeida to lead his line in Donetsk, in what will be the Besiktas star's first start of Euro 2012.

Almeida, 28, failed to feature in any of Portugal's group matches as Nelson Oliveira and Varela were preferred as impact options from the substitutes' bench.

However, he made his first appearance at the tournament when coming on for Postiga in the 1-0 quarter-final victory over Czech Republic and will keep his place at the head of Portugal's attack against Spain.

"I am satisfied," Almeida said. "This is what I have been working for. I will show my worth on the field and will give my all. To win the match, we need to score goals. This is our first target. We know what Spain are worth, but we deserved to be here. We will do anything to win."

Almeida insists he is unfazed by the prospect of coming up against Spain's centre-back pairing of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos, who have been part of a defence that has shipped just one goal in four games at Euro 2012.

"Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos are great defenders, playing at the best clubs in the world," Almeida said. "I am sure it will be very difficult to face them. I will do my best, and if I can score a goal, that is even better. With my head or my feet. What matters is to score."

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