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Spain v France Euro 2012 Preview & Tips
Spain and France square off on Saturday, June 23, for the third quarter-finals match. The game starts at 19:45 GMT.
Mighty Spain finished first in Group C en route to the knockout stages. They haven’t been looking very sharp however; the biggest win in the tournament so far, a 4-0 trashing on the Republic of Ireland, is sandwiched by a draw against Italy and a win over Croatia. The latter proved tough to break down, requiring an 88th minute Jesus Navas goal off an Andres Iniesta assist. The lone goal came despite the resounding statistics for Spain: 72% ball possession, 15 total shots.
Vicente Del Bosque is a man of a million options. Jesus Navas’ winning goal against Croatia gives the manager a selection headache, with Llorente, Negredo, Torres, and Fabregas vying for the central striker spot. Fabregas has been prolific himself; the midfielder has been playing the false 9 role seamlessly. Against France Spain face a formidable opponent, and a fully fit squad definitely bolsters the Red Fury’s chances of advancing to the semis.
France looked like they were heading for that Group D top spot until Sweden decided to play the spoiler’s seriously, condemning Les Bleus to a 2-0 defeat. This despite tallying 24 shots in the game (only four of which were on target); the French are definitely creative on the pitch but couldn’t convert chances to goals when it matters the most.
Philippe Mexes will be missing the Spain affair. Mexes earned his second yellow of the tournament against Sweden last time out. Except for Mexes Laurent Blanc will have a healthy squad at his disposal. This will of course aid the manager tactically, allowing him to match up with Spain’s formation and style. Against the Red Fury France could set out on a 4-3-3, with Yann M’Vila joining Diarra and Cabaye in midfield.
Spain v France Betting Preview
France’s defense was in shambles last time out, and this should have exposed a number of weakenesses that Spain will be quick to pounce on. Add to that the fact that Les Bleus have been struggling to score goals lately; Karim Benzema hasn’t scored a goal all tournament long, so is Franck Ribery. Expect Spain to dominate this attractive match of possession and position battles. Goals will come and we fancy that when all the dust settles, the Red Fury will be left standing strong.
Verdict: Spain to win, 2-1.
Tip: Spain is at 1.83 to win and 1.40 to qualify. A 2-1 final score for Spain is at 9.00; this also implies that the game could go over 2.5 goals at 2.40. Be wary of the fact that most Euro 2012 games are decided on very low scores though.
Look to Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas to provide the goals in this match. Iniesta was the best man on the pitch against Croatia, and he could stamp his name on this game with a goal; he is at 4.00 to score anyimte. Cesc meanwhile is at 3.50 to score anytime; the Barcelona man has been a fixture in del Bosque’s attacking plan and he may find the stroke yet again in this game.
All odds are from Bet365.com (£200 FREE BET!).