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International friendly - preview and odds: Spain vs. England

Published on: 12/11/2015

International friendly - preview and odds: Spain vs. England

November 13, 2015 19:45pm - Estadio José Rico Pérez, Alicante

International friendly

After easing through their qualifying groups, Spain and England now begin their preparations for next summer’s Euro 2016 showdown in France with a friendly match in Alicante.

Spain looking for third consecutive Euro crown

Spain’s qualifying performances were not always convincing and often left more questions than answers for Coach Vicente del Bosque. However, they managed to win nine out their 10 qualifying games, with the 2-1 defeat to Slovakia the only black mark on their record. Of all the group winners, only opponents England had a better record.

La Furia Roja are the current holders of the trophy and are aiming to win the tournament for the third time in a row next summer. The UEFA showpiece event is also likely to mark the end of Del Bosque’s reign as national team coach.

Since winning the tournament three years ago, Spain have slipped down the FIFA world rankings and are now positioned at sixth in the world.

In recent friendlies against top European opposition, the Spanish team has not fared well, having lost to Netherlands Germany and Spain in their last three all-European friendlies. In their last non-competitive outing, they narrowly beat Costa Rica by two goals to one.

England enjoyed perfect qualifying campaign

With 10 wins out of 10, 31 goals scored and just 3 conceded, England could not have wished for a better qualifying campaign. However, the Three Lions often have trouble carrying their qualifying form through to tournament level - the 2014 World Cup in Brazil being perhaps the most significant example of this habit.

With opposition such as Switzerland, Estonia, Slovenia, San Marino and Lithuania in Group E, it could be suggested that anything less than a 100% record would have been below par for Roy Hodgson’s band of Premier League stars.

They will now get the chance to prove their worth against a side that, although not the force they once were, will start Euro 2016 as one of the favourites. The last time they came up against a top European side in a friendly game, they earned at 1-1 draw against Italy.

Team news

As this is a friendly game, we are likely to see plenty of tactical experimentation from both sides. Injuries will also play their part with key players missing from the ranks of both nations.

Spain will be without David Silva, Isco, Sergio Ramos and Juanfran who are all injured, while Chelsea’s Diego Costa has been recalled to the squad. The striker missed Spain’s last two qualifiers and has struggled to integrate into the national team.

England’s list of absentees includes Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge, while John Stones and Fabian Delph are both available again after recovering from their respective injuries. Eric Dier’s impressive form for Tottenham has earned the player his first England call up.

Recent form (qualifiers)

Spain: WWWWW

England: WWWWW

Betting odds and tips

It is nearly 20 years since the team last met in a competitive environment. On that occasion, England prevailed after a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals of the 1996 European Championships. In the five friendly games that have been played since, Spain have won three and England have won two. The last time they met, a Fabio Capello-led England team prevailed by a single goal at Wembley in November 2011.

Despite topping their group, Spain looked vulnerable in some of their qualifying games, defeating Ukraine (twice) Macedonia (away) and Belarus (away) by just a single goal, and losing 2-1 in Slovakia. Apart froma tight 1-0 win in Estonia, England strolled through most of their qualifying campaign.

Spain are playing on home and will be favourites but England will have plenty of fans in attendance thanks to the large ex-pat community in the Alicante area.

England are priced at 9/2 with Betvictor and that is a great price for a team that has not lost a game since the World Cup in Brazil. In contrast, Spain have been beaten four times since then and are still struggling to find the perfect formation for their current crop of players.

Published on: 12/11/2015

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (12/11/2015 11:50:27) but are subject to change.