Spain vs Italy Preview

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.

Author Profile: Stefan+

Russia vs Czech Republic Preview

8th June – Russia v Czech Republic (Group A)

Russia start their Euro 2012 campaign against the Czech Republic in the Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw on the 8th June. Russia go into the game as favourites having been most impressive in qualifying. Coached by Dick Advocatt, Russia topped Group B with seven wins from their ten matches. They have only conceded one goal in their last five matches and are clearly going to be tough to break down, even if they are not a favorite among us to win Euro 2012.

The Russians have been excellent in defence but also have plenty of talent going forward. Team captain, Andrei Arshavin may not have set the Premiership alight with Arsenal but a loan move to Zenit St. Petersburg may rekindle some of the striker’s best form for Euro 2012. Roman Pavlyuchenko found himself similarly banished to the outskirts of the Tottenham side and, concerned about his form for his country, moved back to Moscow in January. If these two find the spark that was missing in North London, they will be a potent threat to any side. See our live in-play betting guide for all Euro Cup games this summer

The Czech Republic had to come through a play-off against Montenegro to book their place at Euro Cup 2012 after finishing second behind Spain in their qualifying group. It looked a potentially difficult tie when the draw was made but the Czech’s put together two very accomplished performances to run out 3-0 aggregate winners. Head Coach Michal Bilek will be boosted by the excellent recent form of captain Tomas Rosicky at Arsenal and he will play a pivotal role for his country. Goalkeeper Petr Cech has been in fine form for Chelsea and will provide them with plenty of experience, as will Galatasaray striker Milan Baros. Formerly with Liverpool, Baros has now scored 40 international goals from 86 caps and claimed the Golden Boot at the European Championships in 2004 after scoring five goals during the finals.

Russia v Czech Rep Predictions and Odds

Russia are 11-10 favourites to open their campaign with a victory with the Czech Republic priced at 11-4 and the draw around 9-4. The Czechs have the potential to make it difficult and you certainly couldn’t rule out an upset, but the Russians seem to have the better attacking options and might open with a victory.

We found best odds at Bet365, Russia are regarding as sporting outsiders for Euro 2012 and are best priced at 25-1 whilst the Czech Republic are friendless at 66-1. If the Russians are to justify that support they should certainly be good enough to win here.

Author Profile: Stefan+