Spain Set for Semis as Historic Treble Looms
Quarter final number three takes place on Saturday night with the World and European champions Spain in the box seat to make it through to the semi finals. William Hill make them 4/11 to qualify past France and 4/5 to win in 90 minutes.
France limped to a 2-0 defeat against already eliminated Sweden in their final Group D game but had done just enough to fall over the line as they finished second to England. The French are 19/5 to defeat Spain in 90 minutes and 2/1 to qualify. The 90 minutes draw is 23/10.
Before Jesus Navas' 88th minute winner against Croatia, Spain were up against it knowing that a Croatian goal would have sent them out of the competition but Iker Casillas saved the day and for once, Spain won ugly.
The French will probably try and keep Spain quiet and play on the break, as most do against the Spanish. They have the armoury to beat Spain like this with the attacking threats of Frank Ribery, Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema and Jeremy Menez against a shaky looking defence. Alvaro Arbeloa and Jordi Alba have been defensively suspect where as Gerard Pique is having an indifferent season for club and country. Sergio Ramos can be world class on his day but will, on the odd occasion switch off and let players in behind him. His Real Madrid team mate, Benzema will know that and is 7/1 to score first. It's beating Casillas that is the problem.
France will be without the suspended Phillipe Mexes as Laurent Koscielny will be drafted in to partner Adil Rami at centre back. The Arsenal defender is 40/1 to make an immediate impact with the opening goal and 50/1 to be named man of the match. Andres Iniesta is 11/4 for man of the match but the goal keepers may have their say on that. Lloris of France is 20/1 and Casillas is 2/1.
Spain have struggled with which formation suits them best. Six midfielders controlled without sparkling against Italy and Torres looked unstoppable against Ireland but was nonexistent against Croatia. A cutting edge will be needed meaning Torres could play ahead of Fabregas. The Chelsea forward is 7/2 to net first with Cesc at 9/2.
The winner of this battle could be decided in midfield where Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and David Silva have controlled teams. Iniesta is the second favourite at 6/1 to be the player of the tournament behind potential semi final opponent Ronaldo at 5/2. Silva is 16/1 for the honour and Xavi is 16s too. France only have Frank Ribery close to favouritism at 16/1.
Spain are second favourites to lift the trophy at 5/2 behind Germany at 2/1. Semi finalists, Portugal are 9/2 with England at 8/1, Italy at 9/1 and France 12/1.
Match Result (To Qualify)
4/5 Spain (4/11), 23/10 Draw, 19/5 France (2/1)
First Goal Scorer: 7/2 F Torres, 9/2 C Fabregas, 5/1 A Negredo, 11/2 F Llorente, 6/1 D Silva, 7/1 K Benzema, 7/1 A Iniesta, 8/1 O Giroud, 9/1 F Ribery, 11/1 J Menez, 12/1 S Nasri, 16/1 F Malouda.
Any time Goal Scorer: 10/11 F Torres, 6/5 C Fabregas, 5/4 A Negredo, 6/4 F Llorente, 7/4 D Silva, 2/1 K Benzema, 2/1 A Iniesta, 11/4 O Giroud, 10/3 F Ribery, 4/1 J Menez, 5/1 S Nasri, 6/1 F Malouda
Man of the Match: 11/4 A Iniesta, 4/1 F Torres, 7/1 D Silva, 8/1 A Negredo, 8/1 A Negredo, 8/1 K Benzema, 9/1 S Nasri, 9/1 F Llorente, 10/1 Xavi, 11/1 Pedro, 11/1 O Giroud, 12/1 J Mata, 14/1 F Ribery, 14/1 J Menez, 14/1 J Navas, 16/1 S Cazorla, 16/1 F Malouda, 20/1 BAR
Euro 2012 Winner: 2/1 Germany, 5/2 Spain, 9/2 Portugal, 8/1 England, 9/1 Italy, 12/1 France, 50/1 Greece
Player of the Tournament: 5/2 C Ronaldo, 6/1 A Iniesta, 9/1 B Schweinsteiger, 12/1 M Ozil, 16/1 F Ribery, 16/1 D Silva, 16/1 Xavi, 16/1 A Pirlo, 20/1 S Gerrard, 25/1 BAR
Top Goal Scorer: 6/4 M Gomez, 2/1 C Ronaldo, 5/1 F Torres, 20/1 C Fabregas, 25/1 W Rooney, 50/1 L Podolski, 66/1 BAR