Football (soccer) rivals Portugal and Spain have played against each other 35 times, with Spain winning 15 games and losing 7. Spain also has a better record in the World Cup with one championship win and the Euro Cup, which Spain has won thrice. Portugal is yet to win in either tournament. The most recent Spain v Portugal match was in the semi finals of the Euro Cup 2012, when Spain won in a penalty shootout.

Comparison chart

Portugal versus Spain comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartPortugalSpain
  • current rating is 4.19/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(27 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.62/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(29 ratings)
Nicknames The Navigators The Red One, The Red Fury, The Spanish Fury
Association Federacao Portuguesa de Futebol Royal Spanish Football Federation
Confederation UEFA (Europe) UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Paolo Bento Vicente Del Bosque
Captain Cristiano Ronaldo Iker Casillas
Top scorer Pauleta (47) David Villa (53)
FIFA ranking 7 10
Highest FIFA ranking 3 1
Lowest FIFA ranking 43 25
Elo ranking 3 1
World cup appearances 5 13
World cup wins 0 1 in 2010
Euro cup appearances 6 9
Euro cup wins 0 3 in 1964, 2008 and 2012
Iker Casillas, captain of Spain's football team, with the Euro Cup 2012 trophy
Iker Casillas, captain of Spain's football team, with the Euro Cup 2012 trophy

Early years

The Portuguese Football Federation was formed in 1914. Due to World War I, Portugal’s first game was not until 18th December 1921, when they were defeated 3-1. The team was invited to enter the 1928 Summer Olympics, where they lost to Egypt in the quarter final. They took part in the qualifications for the 1934 World Cup, but did not qualify.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation was founded in 1909. However, because of the first world war, the Spanish team did not play an international match until 1920, when they beat Denmark 1-0 in the Olympic Games. They first appeared in the FIFA World Cup in 1934. World War II and the Spanish Civil War then prevented the Spanish team from participating in international games until 1950.

Star players

Some of Portugal’s most well-known and successful players include Lius Figo, Gernando Couto, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Rui Costa.

Some of Spain’s most successful players include David Villa, Raul Gonzalez, Fernando Torres, and Fernando Hierro.


Portugal first faced Spain in December 1921, with Spain winning 3-1. Both teams competed in their first World Cup qualifiers in 1934, when Spain beat Portugal in Madrid 9-0, and then again in Lisbon 2-1. Portugal’s defeat in Lisbon remains their second heaviest defeat and kept the team out of the World Cup, which Spain then won. Portugal were beaten by Spain again in the 1950 World Cup qualifiers, when they lost 5-1 away before a 2-2 home draw. In more recent matches, Spain and Portugal met in the quarter finals of the 2010 World Cup, when Spain won 1-0 and went on to be World Champions. The two teams played a friendly match five months later, when Spain was defeated 4-0 – their largest defeat in almost 50 years. However, Spain made a comeback in the 2012 Euro Cup, defeating Portugal in a penalty shoot-out in the semi-finals.

Head-to-head record

Portugal and Spain have played each other 34 times since 1921. In that time, Spain has won 15 matches and lost 7 matches, with 12 draws.

Euro cups

Portugal have played in 6 Euro cups. They first qualified in 1984, when they were knocked out of the semi-final. They made it to the quarter-finals in 1996, the semi-final in 2000, and were the runners-up in 2004. In 2008 they made it to the quarter-finals, and were knocked out by Spain in the semi final in 2012.

Spain have played in 9 Euro cups. They were the champions in their first Euro Cup in 1964, but did not qualify again until 1980, when they reached the group stage. They were the runners up in 1984, and came 6th in 1988. They did not qualify again in 1992, but reached the quarter finals in 1996 and 2000, and the group stage in 2004. They were the Euro Cup champions in both 2008 and 2012.

World cups

Portugal did not qualify for any World Cups until 1966, when they came third. They qualified again in 1986, when they were knocked out in Round 1. They were knocked out in Round 1 again in 2002, but came fourth in 2006, and made it to the round of 16 in 2010.

Spain have played in 13 World Cups. They made it to the quarter finals in 1934, but withdrew from the 1938 cup due to the civil war. They took fourth place in 1959, and reached the group stages in 1962, 1966 and 1978. Since then, they reached the quarter finals in 1986, 1994, and 2002, and became the World Cup champions in 2010.

Euro 2012 semifinal

Portugal and Spain met in the semifinals of the 2012 Euro Cup. After going to extra time, the score remained 0-0, and so the match went to penalties. Spain won 4-2 in penalties, with Fabregas scoring the winning penalty.

Recent News


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Spain vs. Portugal in Football." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 9 Nov 2022. < >