First things first, let’s get one thing straight: Spain can be beaten. If you don’t believe me, ask Portugal and Italy – both teams have inflicted defeat on the reigning world and European champions in the past 12 months.
But this doesn’t for one minute mean that England are capable of following in their footsteps, despite being ranked in the top ten alongside Italy and Portugal in Fifa’s world rankings.
As shown by Spain’s three most recent meetings with England, all of which have been won to nil, La Roja operate on an altogether different level to the Three Lions, and this gulf in class is sure to be highlighted again on Saturday.
This is reflected in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, where Spain are odds-on at 4/5 to claim victory at Wembley.
England are left as 333/100 outsiders to claim a morale-boosting win ahead of Euro 2012, while the draw is priced at 5/2.
Of course, the home team’s cause is unlikely to be helped by the loss of Wayne Rooney, who has been overlooked by manager Fabio Capello.
The Italian has chosen to do without his star man to aid preparations ahead of the start of Euro 2012, when Rooney will be absent through suspension.
With England also missing the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Young through injury and with John Terry likely to start on the bench, it will be a young, experimental team which takes to the field.
All this adds to the fears that England will be hopelessly outplayed by the opposition, with the home side incapable of keeping hold of the ball for prolonged periods and having difficulty winning it back.
Not that experimenting with youth is the wrong thing to do. Indeed, if there is a criticism of Capello in this area it is that he didn’t try this tactic in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 World Cup campaign.
His failure to do so means England are still reliant on ageing individuals who have already proved themselves incapable of competing against the best international teams.
There is hope for the future, much of it provided by the sorely-missed Wilshere, while senior squad debutant Jack Rodwell could offer a solution to the defensive midfield conundrum left unsolved since since Owen Hargreaves’ demise.
Further up the pitch, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge offer promise in attacking positions.
But it is now that matters, not 12 months down the line.
Had these players been blooded for the first time at the start of the Euro 2012 qualification campaign, then Spain might have been given a game.
But with their introduction being left so late, La Roja look set to ease to victory without giving England a sniff.
As such, bet on Spain to win to nil at odds of 9/5, as they have done in each of their last three meetings against England.
A successful £25 free bet on Spain to win to nil would return £70, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Or, for slightly bigger returns, a 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 multiple correct score in favour of Vicente del Bosque’s side looks tempting at 2/1.
Either way, there appears little hope for England. The only bright side is that the experience gained by the likes of Rodwell, Sturridge and Welbeck should stand them in good stead further down the line.
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