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Spain France Betting Predictions – Spain Hold Off France To Reach Euro 2012 Semifinals

Posted by Todd Shale on 6/20/2012 2:42:34 PM

Spain’s online betting odds depend on their midfield to run the show, and they’ve done that so far at Euro 2012, although there is still room for improvement. They’ll raise their game against a pesky French side that won’t go down without a fight, but the Spanish will prevail.

What: Soccer Betting
When: Saturday, June 23rd, 2:45 PM ET
Where: Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine
Pick: Spain

Why Bet On Spain

Spain are the soccer betting favorites to win their third straight major tournament and the fact that they won Group C without really playing that well is a testament to their ability. Fernando Torres may have been the star of the group stage for Spain as he regained some confidence with a pair of goals, although it was telling that manager Vicente del Bosque played with midfielder Cesc Fabregas up front at points. Del Bosque may have just been trying to get Fabregas into the team anyway he could and that shows the strength of the Spanish midfield, which is powered by Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta. Xavi, in particular, has been excellent for his country as he distributes the ball better than anyone in the world. With their style of quick passing and movement, the Spanish midfield runs games because they don’t allow their opponents to see the ball, and it’s tough to score goals if you’re chasing shadows all game.

This helps to make up for a defense that has looked shaky at points, and they really miss the services of the injured Carlos Puyol at the back. They are captained by one of the best keepers in the world in Iker Casillas and the midfield does a great job of retaining possession to take pressure off the defense, but in Karim Benzema, the Spanish back line faces their toughest test of the tournament, although Sergio Ramos and company know Benzema very well from his time at Real Madrid. His pace and movement will threaten Spain’s defense, and that will be a matchup to watch.

Why Bet On France

France came into Euro 2012 with lowered expectations because of what happened at the World Cup in 2010, but they played well for two of the first three games of the group stage and even in the 2-0 loss to Sweden that sent France to second place in Group D, they did get their chances. Benzema led the team with 16 shots and was a constant threat up front, and he got support from Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri, although the latter disappeared in the final match. Jeremy Menez was brought on as a sub in the Sweden game as manager Laurent Blanc didn’t want to risk a yellow card that would rule him out against Spain, and he’ll need all hands on deck to chase around the Spanish midfield. At the back, keeper and captain Hugo Lloris has marshaled the defense well, until the final game when they really just made a few simple mistakes, and the goal that was scored by Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovich was a thing of beauty that no one can be blamed for. Overall, the French defense has played well, but they’ll have to play even better against Spain.

Look for Yohan Cabaye to get back into the lineup as the French struggled to win the ball back with him on the sidelines because of injury, but they’ll also need more out of Nasri, who is France’s most creative player and he’ll be under the spotlight to support Benzema, who can’t do it all on his own. Ribery has been pretty consistent throughout the tournament, but Nasri is prone to lapses in concentration and the French need to see “good” Nasri if they’re going to have any chance of pulling off a massive upset.

How Will It Play Out

Soccer betting odds have Spain favored at -123 in this quarterfinal contest against the French, who are +350 underdogs in Ukraine, while a draw comes in at +210. While Spain has won the last two meetings between these two countries in 2008 and 2010, overall the two have been equal with 14 wins and eight draws in 36 meetings.

France will need to have their best game of the tournament and then some to beat Spain, who are still juggling their lineup, but Torres will likely get the call up front. This game will be won midfield and quite simply, if France can’t pressure Xavi and company in the middle of the pitch, they’re going to be in a world of trouble. How healthy is Cabaye? Can he form a strong partnership with Menez? It won’t be strong enough as Spain should be able to snatch a victory in your sports betting picks on Saturday.

Spain France Betting Pick: Spain


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