Villa and Soldado decisions to impact Spain at Euro 2012

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Having won the last two major tournaments, Spain are worthy favourites at 5/2 to triumph at Euro 2012, but two striker decisions threaten to negatively impact their chances.

David Villa finished the top scorer at Euro 2008 with four goals and was equally as inspirational at the 2010 World Cup.

He and midfielder Andres Iniesta were vital at creating space and playing the killer passes as Spain struggled to unlock defences despite all their possession.

Villa has missed the majority of this season at Barcelona because of a broken leg, but there were still hopes that he would be available for Euro 2012.

However, he has phoned Spain manager Vincent Del Bosque to say that he is not fit enough to do himself justice and so has ruled himself out of a spot in the final 23.

With Fernando Llorente and Fernando Torres confirmed for the squad, this means there are effectively two striker spaces to be filled, with Alvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado seeming the obvious candidates.

But the thought is that only one of this pair will be taken, with the other spot to be filled by a creator more from the Villa mould, such as Pedro, Iker Muniain or Adrian Lopez.

Negredo looks the more likely because of his better end-of-season form, but Soldado appears the best fit to the Spanish style of passing football.

There is even the case that Soldado should be leading the line, rather than Llorente, who would perhaps be more at home in a team playing a more direct style.

Pedro would be the evident replacement for Villa, but he has found first-team opportunities in short supply at Barcelona this season, while Munian can be particularly wasteful in possession.

Therefore, unknown Lopez may be the surprise inclusion in the final 23.

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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.