Spain v Italy Betting Pick Torres 1 GS – Sunday 10th June 2012

Euro Qualifiers Tips

Spain v Italy

The defending Champions play their first match of Euro 2012 when they take on Italy in what is, in all likelihood, the best fixture Group C has to offer. Spain are of course coming into this competition as World Cup holders as well as reigning European Champions. Favourites again, they will be without two key players as Carles Puyol and David Villa miss out through injury. Not only are they key losses in terms of their quality on the park, their experience and personalities are likely to be a miss as well, especially Puyol. Much has been made of who will start upfront for the Spanish, but going by their recent friendly’s I would be surprised if Fernando Torres doesn’t begin the game against Italy. He of course scored the winning goal in the 2008 final and he looks the most likely starter as his game compliments the side more than that of the powerful Fernando Llorente.

Italy are coming into this tournament under a cloud as there have been further allegations of match fixing in their domestic league. It’s a sad state of affairs that for the second International tournament in six years there has been such drama surrounding the Italian national team. Of course, the last time it happened they went on to win the World Cup in Germany but they have their work cut out to repeat that this year. Defeated 3-0 by Russia in their most recent warm up match, Cesare Prandelli’s men will have to up their game in order to reach the last eight. Facing their toughest opponent first is probably a good thing as they don’t really have much to lose. If they do lose then they have a further two games against weaker opposition to claw back any ground lost on Sunday. What they will want to avoid is a thrashing but Italian teams rarely lose heavily in the finals of any competition.

With a midfield of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquests and Xabi Alonso, Spain are the envy of most sides in world football. Iniesta will be pivotal to their cause as he is the one who will attempt to find the space between the opposition’s defence and midfield. His performance against China in the second half of their recent friendly was encouraging as he dictated play and his touch looked back to his best.

Andrea Pirlo has enjoyed a terrific first season in Turin playing for Juventus. The playmaker added another Serie A title to his impressive medal collection and is once again the key player for Italy. If he is not on his game at any point during the tournament, Italy will struggle to keep hold of the ball resulting in fewer chances being created. That is one of the biggest worries for Prandelli, the lack of depth to his midfield.

Having already advised backing Spain as outright winners, I don’t see the need to play a Spanish win here. Instead I believe there to be good value in Torres to open his account for Euro 2012 at the first time of asking.

Torres 1st goalscorer 1pt, 5/1 @ Totesport

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