Spain v France: Les Bleus are 7/4 to send the holders home
Spain’s dire record against France indicates that an early exit may loom
Spain are still unbeaten and France did enough in their first two fixtures to be able to afford a defeat to Sweden, however neither have truly lived up to their pre-tournament billing so far at Euro 2012.
Spain have scored without a striker yet at times struggled with one. France have a striker who has failed to net despite a productive support cast. Neither though have done enough to stop Germany emerging as 9/4 favourites.
Both went into the competition and will enter this match with varying expectations. While for France the primary objective was to evade the humiliation of group-stage exits at Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, and elimination will provoke no shame, Spain will be seen to have underachieved if their adventure ends here.
France then, perhaps for the first time this summer, will be able to play without fear, and those were the circumstances that enabled them to piece together a run of 23 games without a loss before their recent reverse against Sweden.
Les Bleus by contrast know all about the pressure suffocating the holders as they seek to become the first side to win three successive major international trophies, having been the last country to attempt the feat and misfire miserably.
They also have a handy knack of denying Spain on these occasions, most recently at the second round of World Cup 2006 when, after much Spanish media talk about retiring Zinedine Zidane, they surrendered a lead and lost 3-1.
That made it six competitive meetings without a defeat for France against Spain and suggests that both the 4/1 on them winning in 90 minutes and 7/4 on them qualifying deserve serious consideration.
Five of Spain’s six knockout round encounters at tournaments since that humbling at the feet of Zidane have produced under 1.5 goals and this clash is 2/1 to follow suit.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.