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Nic Ladds 10th Feb 2009 - 18:42

Spain provide first big test for Fabio

England step up to face the current European Champions Spain as underdogs at 14/5 in the betting with the Spaniards at odds of 11/10.

International friendlies are an absolute minefield to bet on usually due to the uncertain line-ups and experimentation of the teams.

However the last time these two met in Spain, the match was marred by racist chants from the Spanish crowd which gives England an incentive to go back for revenge while Spain are on an excellent run and will want to exert their authority as the best team in the world.

Many will think the draw is a likely outcome at odds of 21/10 due to players often seemingly not putting in maximum effort due to the want to come away from the game unscathed, making outcomes often hard to predict.

Both teams are likely to start with a first choice line up, meaning for England John Terry and Rio Ferdinand should start in the heart of defence, while Spain should have their two world class strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa leading the line and both are 5/1 to bag the first goal.

While both sides are missing some first team players (Rooney, Joe Cole, Fabregas to name but a few), there is a host of talent running through both sides.

Daniel Guiza for Spain carries a potent goal threat and is always keen to impress in a bid to break regularly into the starting line up and is 6/1 score first along with Fernando Llorente.

Xavi is a world class player as he has shown for Barcelona and looks a fair bet at 5/1 to score anytime.

Fabio Capello has made it clear he picks his team on form and in that case Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey are likely to start up front and are both 8/1 in the betting to score first.

Carlton Cole is available at odds of 9/1 with Peter Crouch 8/1 and the rejuvenated David Beckham may well get the appearance he needs to equal Bobby Moore's England appearance record and you wouldn't be surprised to see Beckham get on the score sheet with 5/1 about him scoring anytime or 12/1 for the first goal.

In form Villa pair Ashley Young and James Milner should both get run outs and are 5/1 and 6/1 respectively to score anytime.

The no goal scorer option may well be popular in what is unlikely to be a high scoring game and that can be backed at odds of 11/2.

With a lack of goals likely 1-0 and 2-0 to the hosts are available at odds of 5/1 and 11/2 respectively, while 1-0 to England is 7/1 and a 1-1 draw 5/1.

Spain's attacking threat is so great that you would expect them to score, especially when the likes of Ferdinand and Terry are inevitably rested at some point making the second half being the highest scoring half at 11/10 look appealing.

A Spain/Spain double result will appeal at 21/10 if you fancy Spain to dominate proceedings with draw/draw at 4/1 or the real patriotic punters out there England/England is available at odds of 6/1.

With so much chopping and changing likely throughout the game it is hard to nail down exactly which way this will go.

While England are vastly improved under Capello, Spain is by far their toughest test so far and the Three Lions will do well to win but given the nature of friendlies a draw is possible.

Xavi to score anytime - 5/1
1-1 draw - 5/1

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