Spain vs Italy by 20legend
Spain is one of the big favourites to win this campaign in Poland/Ukraine. They easily won their qualification group with 8-0-0 and 26-6 on goal difference. They have got really big names in every position in their squad. It is a huge blow that their best striker, David Villa, did not make the tournament. He provided 7 goals in 8 matches in the qualifying stage, and has been outstanding on the national team. They have some good names up front anyway with Fernando Torres, Fernando Llorente, Alvaro Negredo and Pedro. The question will be if some of these could cover in Villa’s absence. However, Spain got enough quality in midfield that they possibly could play without a striker and they would still be able to score goals, so that should not be a problem for Spain. Since Cesc Fabregas (midfield) has shaken off his injury ahead off the Euro 2012, Spain will have all their 23 world-class players available tonight.
Italy is the biggest favourite to take the 2nd place in this group, and they also won their qualification group with 8-2-0 and 26 points. However, the Italians have shown some problems both on and off the field ahead of this campaign. Italy presented some dreadful play in their only friendly match before this tournament against Russia, where they lost 0-3. In addition to that, there has also been another scandal in Italian football, resulting in for example that Dominico Criscito was kicked out of the Italian squad. Another scandal will surely affect the Italian players, since the speculations on other players involved like Gianolugi Buffon, not will provide the best build up to a tournament like this. Andrea Barzagli (defense) is struggling with a calf injury, and it is expected that Danielle De Rossi (midfield) will step into the defence.
I definitely keep Spain as a favourite here. The only question will score enough goals without David Villa, but I think they will manage that with their other strikers. It is very important for Spain to win this match, in order to not do as they did in their first World Cup-game against Switzerland in 2010. Therefore I think that the motivation is huge in order to win here. Italy is not a strong as before, and with a man like Mario Balotelli up front, I don’t leave Italy much possibility tonight. Even if the score could be close, Spain will have the most of the ball, and control the game.
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