Portugal continued their preparations for the World Cup in unremarkable fashion on Wednesday, painting a strikingly different picture to that of Spain, who on Friday will be their first opponents in the group stage.
While Spain were busy replacing sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui with Fernando Hierro, the reigning European champions were going about their business without a hitch at their World Cup base in Ramensky, located just outside Moscow.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva both looked in fine spirits as Fernando Santos took his players through a routine training session, serving to underline the storm their Group B rivals are currently having to endure.
Cristiano Ronaldo uses his chest to control the ball during Portugal’s latest training session
The Real Madrid forward struggles to control the ball as he trains in Moscow on Wednesday
Ronaldo watches his Portugal team-mate Bernardo Silva enjoying himself during the session
Portugal players complete passing drills as they continue preparations for the World Cup
Indeed, the Manchester City midfielder admits Portugal would be in dire straights if their manager Santos decided to walk away now.
He said simply: ‘It would be a problem for us if Santos left.’
Just how much the turmoil affects Spain will not become clear until the two Iberian nations clash at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on Friday, but they can take plenty of heart from their record in previous fixtures.
Spain have dominated matches between the pair, winning 16 of their 35 meetings with only six wins for Portugal. Four of those have been at major tournaments with Spain winning the last two – at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
Bruno Alves (front) concentrates as he completes training drills at Portugal’s training base
Head coach Fernando Santos stands with his backroom staff as the players continue training
Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma passes the ball with nonchalance as training continues
With Morocco and Iran making up the group, both teams could be forgiven for being happy with a draw when they clash on Friday but Santos has other ideas.
‘I am not signing off on anything other than a win,’ he said. ‘We’ve come here to win every game that we play.’
Portugal have lost only once in 24 competitive matches since Santos took charge in September 2014 although they he has been criticised for a dour and pragmatic approach to the game.
Ronaldo, who can basically seal a sixth Ballon d’Or title by guiding Portugal to their second major tournament triumph in the space of two years, will be looking to change that.
Portugal’s Adrien Silva, centre, heads the ball next to team-mates during the training session
Silva (L), Joao Moutinho (CL), Bruno Fernandes (CR) and Gelson Martins (R) share a joke