Expect a Spain clean sheet in Euro 2012 opener with Italy

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Clean sheets have not historically been common for Spain at European Championships, but 11/10 looks a decent price that they shut out Italy in their opening encounter of Group C.

Spain have only kept three clean sheets in 21 previous group games in European Championships and let in at least one in all of their group encounters on the way to winning Euro 2008 against Russia, Sweden and Greece.

However, they have been put in a group of largely defensively-minded teams in their title defence, with Italy and the Republic of Ireland especially noted for preferring to play on the counter attack.

This means they may be able to dominate possession to an even greater degree than normal and as the saying suggests if they have the ball, then the opposition are unable to score.

Italy are having their own scoring problems of late, as they have failed to find the target in any of their last three friendlies against Uruguay, the USA and most recently Russia.

Furthermore, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli may be more concerned with getting the structure of his defence right against Spain, as it is the later games with Ireland and Croatia that will determine whether they reach the knockout stages.

Andrea Barzagli is definitely out of the group stages as a minimum, while regular left-back Domenico Criscito has not travelled to the tournament.

Therefore, Daniele De Rossi may feature in a defensive trio and with this position not his natural role, some extra work will be required in training.

Meanwhile, Spain have shut out Italy in two of their last three encounters.

Spain have not exactly been formidable themselves of late, only beating China 1-0 and being held to a 2-2 draw by Costa Rica.

The fact they are without David Villa will additionally rob them of creativity, while if Fernando Torres is picked in attack, he is hardly in top form.

This means that 7/1 may stand out in the correct scoreline market for a 0-0 stalemate.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.