Euro 2012 Preview: Spain

Euro 2012 Preview: Spain
COACH
BEST SHOWING
QUALIFICATION
CURRENT WORLD RANKING
HIGHEST WORLD RANKING
LOWEST WORLD RANKING
TOURNAMENT ODDS
Vicente del Bosque
Winners 1964,2008
Winners of Qualifying Group I
1
1 (Jul 2008)
25 (Mar 1998)
3/1 (totesport)

 

FIXTURES
June 10th – Italy (1700 BST, Gdansk, ITV)
June 14th – Republic Of Ireland (1945 BST, Gdansk, BBC)
June 18th – Croatia (1945 BST, Gdansk, BBC)


The reigning champions of Europe and the World, Spain have overcome their past reputation as big stage bottlers with victories and pleasing football.

Qualification was a breeze as Spain joined the Germans in posting a flawless record winning 8 out of 8

whilst La Roja will miss the goals of David Villa who hasn’t recovered from injury in time, they still have the options of Fernando Llorente who has enjoyed a fine season for Athletic Bilbao and is a very effective targetman.

Fernando Torres also makes it although he hasn’t rediscovered the scoring touch yet, Alvaro Negredo is also selected despite a subpar season for Sevilla.

del Bosque has made it clear that no-one is guaranteed a start but I would be amazed if Iker Casillas didn’t start in goal, there is also the luxury of having Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina as backup.

with Carles Puyol being ruled out through injury Raul Albiol will probably partner Gerard Pique in the heart of the Spanish defence with Alvaro Arbeloa and Sergio Ramos as full backs.

Midfield is an embarrassment of riches for the Spanish with Iniesta,Xavi,Xabi Alonso,Fabregas and David Silva all likely to play prominent roles in the tournament with their vision,flair and creative nous.

Spain tend to play a 4-2-3-1 formation although at times they have gone with a 4-3-3, Del Bosque also has to be wary of some weary Barcelona and Real Madrid players who have had gruelling seasons.


ONE TO WATCH – FERNANDO LLORENTE

Llorente has just come off the most prolific season of his career with Athletic Bilbao, his goals helping the Basque side to the Europa League final.

A big targetman with a great touch and eye for goal, he has the ability to make the Spanish fans forget about David Villa this summer.



HERE COMES D-JUDGE
Spain come into the tournament as favourites and there is justification for this but the defence is not as miserly as it was in 2008 & 2010 with the Spaniards only keeping three clean sheets in qualifying and also suffering surprise friendly results losing to England and only managing a draw with Costa Rica.Puyol will be missed as well but this Spanish side have a winning mentality and an ability to overcome hurdles such as partisan home crowds, teams defending as if their lives depended on it and overcoming teams determined to maim them.

The simple key to Spanish success is their midfield, most of their players would walk into most other national sides such is their talent.The thing is Spain are no longer the underachievers from years gone by, they come into this tournament with expectation to make it three in a row but it’ll be harder than they think.

VERDICT
Spain have the talent to go all the way and winning three successive international tournaments would be an incredible feat.I think the final will be a repeat of 2008 as the Spaniards take on the Germans……the result could be different though.

Danny (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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