10th June Spain v Italy (Group C)
Group C kicks off in some style with reigning Euro and World Champions Spain against Italy. Many will expect the Spanish to set the standard in their opening fixture but they did lose their first match of the World Cup 2010 against Switzerland so are not necessarily the quickest starters in the tournament.
Spain boast a vast array of talent in their squad and will probably have more creativity than the Italians can comfortably deal with. David Villa’s injury is a concern as he has been their leading striker in recent years and has maintained a higher level of form than Fernando Torres. Given that there are concerns over both players, betting odds of 14-1 and 20-1 respectively to be top scorer at Euro 2012 do not look attractive. However, they do have plenty of options elsewhere.
Manchester City’s David Silva has been superb in the Premiership this season and scored four times for his country in qualifying. Juan Mata has been a revelation at Chelsea this season and has surely done enough to demand an automatic starting place. His skill and pace is a threat to any defence in the World. With both Silva and Mata priced at 40-1 to be the top scorer at Euro 2012, they may offer better value than the strikers.
Italy struggled at the World Cup but have improved considerably since then. Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Balotelli have been brought in to complement more experienced players such as Antonio Cassano and Daniele De Rossi. They qualified without too much difficulty and have a solid defence that conceded a miserly two goals in qualifying. The Azzurri also have a recent 2-1 victory over Spain, albeit in a friendly.
Betting Odds and Our Predictions
Spain are widely expected to put up a spirited defence of their title and are 4-5 to open with a victory. However, if they are a little slow out of the blocks, the Italians could be good value at 4-1 with the draw available at 5-2. It would not be a major surprise if the Italians were able to grind out a draw against the World Champions and this will be on of our Euro 2012 betting surprises..
Spain are tournament favourites at 5-2 to continue their domination of Europe with the Italians priced at 14-1. Those odds could look generous for the Italians if they could stifle the World Champions in their opening fixture.
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