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Portugal v Spain: Comparing the economies of the big World Cup tie

Portugal and Spain meet on Friday night in the first big game of the 2018 Russia World Cup for what is expected to be a close match - Compelo separates the two sides by their economies

Portugal and Spain will usher in the first big match of the 2018 Russia World Cup tonight when they meet at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

The 40,000 seater stadium in Sochi – the host destination of the 2014 Winter Olympics on the Russian border with Georgia – will probably be full of fans keen to see the clash between the two World Cup favourites.

Betting company William Hill has the odds of Spain and Portugal winning the competition at 6/1 and 25/1 respectively – though some spectators will put the chances of Cristiano Ronaldo’s side winning the trophy above the those of Spain since the sacking of manager Julen Lopetegui earlier this week.

The game is set to be close on paper. Between the two sides, they can call upon some of the best players in the game – including Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Diego Costa – and are only separated by four places in the Fifa world rankings.

Compelo has put the European neighbours’ economies head-to-head to offer a wider perspective on these world class footballing outfits.



Spain, Madrid
The population of Spain is roughly four times that of Portugal. Picture: Ángela Ojeda Heyper/Flickr

Spain is bigger in surface area and population than its neighbour beside the North Atlantic.

More than 46 million people live between San Sebastian and Malaga, while just over 10 million inhabit Portugal, according to the 2017 UN world population prospects study.

There is a similar gap in the inhabitants of their capital cities.

Madrid is home to a little over three million people, dwarfing the 506,000 residents of Lisbon.

Goal: Spain


Gross domestic product

Being the hub of a few big banks, the Spanish economy produced a GDP of $1.237tn (£936bn) in 2016, according to World Bank data.

By comparison, Portugal netted a GDP of $205.18bn (£154bn) that same year.

GDP per capita in Spain is also higher than in Portugal.

The average Spaniard produced $38,200 (£28,751) in 2017, while their Portuguese counterpart made $30,300 (£22,805).

Goal: Spain


Biggest exports

Automotive markets are chief exporters in both countries.

The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) says vehicle parts accounted for 4.6% ($3.14bn) of Portuguese exports in 2016. In the same year, $38.3bn (12%) of Spanish exports were cars.

Spain exported some $332bn (£249bn) of goods in 2016 as Portugal exported a total of $68.8bn (£51bn).

Goal: Spain


Biggest public companies

Santander, Bank
The Spanish banks Santander and BBVA are two of the world’s biggest companies. Picture: Money Bright/Flickr

The Forbes Global 2,000 list is littered with Spanish companies. The banks Santander (#31) – also top sponsor of the Spanish football league La Liga - and the competition’s previous sponsor BBVA (#116) are the country’s two biggest public companies, shortly followed by the telecoms outfit Telefonica (#123).

Portuguese entries on the list are found further down. The energy firms Edp-energias de Portugal (#518) and Galp Energia (#805) rank above food distributor Jeronimo Martins (#1158) in the country’s top three.

Goal: Spain


Wealthiest people

One of the world’s richest men is Spanish.

Amancio Ortega, the founder of the fashion company Inditex – which counts Zara, Pull&Bear and Bershka among its brands - has a net worth of $70bn (£52.69bn).

It puts him just behind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the 2018 Forbes billionaires list.

The highest entry on the list for Portugal is investor Maria Fernanda Amorim (#382), who has an estimated net worth of $5.1bn (£3.84bn).

Goal: Spain


It will come as no surprise to anyone with one eye on the news that Spain fares terribly on unemployment levels.

The CIA World Factbook  says an estimated 17.1% of Spaniards endured unemployment in 2017.

Youth unemployment in Spain was at a startling 35% in March of this year, according to the Statista website.

While levels of unemployment in Portugal are by no means good, they are half those suffered by their neighbour.

The Factbook puts its estimated unemployment in 2017 at 9.7% and Statista says its youth unemployment rate was 21.3% in March 2018.

Goal: Portugal


Final score: Spain 5 – 1 Portugal