As defending champions, there will be much scrutiny on Spain before and during Euro 2012, but observers hoping to get an insight into their preparations may end up short-changed after Saturday’s loosener with Serbia.
Boss Vicente del Bosque has been shorn of his Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao contingent as they will lock horns in the Copa del Rey final 24 hours earlier in Madrid.
With (among others) Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Llorente all unavailable, Del Bosque has named a provisional 21-man squad ahead of his final cut, including seven uncapped players for the meeting with the Serbs in the Swiss city of St Gallen.
Whether these losses hinder la Roja or provide impetus – the likes of exciting Malaga youngster Isco and Atletico Madrid goal-grabber Adrian Lopez are just two of those hoping for debuts and a chance to impress – remains to be seen.
But either way, the world’s number one ranked side should have too much for a team who will be watching the Euros from the beach.
Despite their high-profile absentees, Spain are strong 2/5 favourites in bwin’s 3way football betting market, with Serbia out at 7/1 and the draw at 333/100.
The Serbs have tasted victory in just one of their last seven friendlies and have drawn blanks in four of their last five outings in all competitions.They won’t fancy chasing Spain around on a scorchio alpine evening, so it’s la Roja all the way for me.
Punters with decent memories will know that Spain’s recent form in friendlies hasn’t been great, having lost to Argentina, Portugal, Italy and England since their World Cup win in 2010, while also scraping a draw with Costa Rica last November.
However, this game is much more than an inconvenience punctuating the busy club schedule and in competitive games, Spain have won their last 16 on the bounce.
What’s more, the Serbs have tasted victory in just one of their last seven friendlies and have drawn blanks in four of their last five outings in all competitions.
They didn’t have the stomach for the fight in Euro 2012 qualifying and they won’t fancy chasing Spain around on a scorchio alpine evening, so it’s la Roja all the way for me.
But with the book leaning so heavily towards a Spanish win, you’ll have to dig deep for a decent return. Spain to win by two or more goals is 21/20 and Del Bosque’s men to be leading at both half-time and full-time is at evens.
Given Serbia’s lack of goals, Spain to win either 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 is certainly worth a look at 31/20, while you can more than treble your money at 21/10 for Spain to win both halves.
Punters registering with bwin can claim a free £25 bet and placing this on the latter selection would return a cool £77.50 if successful.
That’s definitely where I’ll be putting my pesetas.
Spain to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 @ 31/20
Spain to win both halves @ 21/10
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