Spain have been on the end of some indifferent results in friendlies over the past 18 months, but in competitive games they remain as ominous as ever and fully justify bwin’s tag as 11/4 joint favourites alongside Germany to win Euro 2012.
Their progress through qualifying was typically serene, as the minnows of Liechtenstein were hit for ten without reply over two games and la Roja recorded 3-1 home and away wins against Lithuania.
Vicente del Bosque’s men almost blotted their copy book by throwing away a two-goal lead against Scotland at Hampden Park but Fernando Llorente’s late winner kept them on track to post a 100% record.
The Scots were on the end of another 3-1 reverse in Alicante for the return visit and even the second-seeded Czech Republic were a class below the world’s number one ranked side, succumbing to a 2-1 loss in Granada and going down 2-0 in Prague.
If you fancy backing Spain to prevail, make sure you do it with bwin as no other bookmaker can beat our price of 11/4.
All in all, it was a qualification campaign which yielded few surprises as the Spaniards announced their intention to successfully defend their crown in style.
They fell behind in only one fixture – at home to the Czech Republic – and scored three or more goals in six of their eight qualifiers.
Barcelona hitman David Villa was the recipient of much of the tiki-taka build-up play, scoring eight goals and in doing so, usurping Raul as the national side’s all-time top scorer with a brace in that home victory over the Czechs.
Villa has yet to return from injury since breaking his leg for Barca in December and although Del Bosque has hinted he may be tempted to take him to Poland and Ukraine regardless, the tournament may arrive too soon.
Without Villa to spearhead the attack, Fernando Llorente has deputised and Spain have also copied Barcelona’s remit of operating with a faux-forward, with David Silva and Cesc Fabregas both being trialled in the ‘position’ mastered by Lionel Messi for the Blaugrana.
Both Villa and Llorente are 16/1 in bwin’s top goalscorer market to finish as the tournament’s leading marksman, with Chelsea’s Fernando Torres out at 20/1.
A seamless progression to Euro 2012 taught us little we didn’t already know about Spain, and Germany aside, there may be few capable of asking them any serious questions if they hit top gear this summer.
If you fancy backing them to prevail, make sure you do it with bwin as no other bookmaker can beat our price of 11/4.
Punters registering with us can claim a free £25 bet and placing this on Spain to win Euro 2012 would return a cool £93.75 if Del Bosque’s men lift the trophy again in Kiev on July 1st.
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