Spain v Czech Republic: Spaniards to do what England couldn’t
The Czech Republic secured their place at Euro 2016 despite failing to register a single clean sheet during qualifying. They shipped 14 times in total, which was also the most among qualifiers.
This slightly cavalier approach towards defending is hardly ideal ahead of facing the winners of the last two European Championships, even if Spain have a tendency of failing to turn their vast amounts of possession into clear-cut chances.
A corner looked to have been turned in this regard in recent weeks following 3-1 and 6-1 successes over Bosnia-Herzegovina and South Korea respectively, before the old habits reappeared last time out when losing 1-0 to FIFA-ranked 137th nation Georgia.
However, they have won every competitive match against all three of their Group D rivals since the 2002 World Cup, which includes two successes against the Czech Republic.
It is 1/2 that Spain continue this record in Toulouse, although there are more attractive punting options available in other betting markets for the clash.
One of these is the 5/4 that Spain will be ahead at both half time and full time.
The Czech’s defensive deficiencies have already been mentioned and Spain scored more first-half goals than any other nation during qualifying.
Because Vincent del Bosque’s men are so good in possession, they tend to be good at closing out matches. They have only been beaten in one of their last 22 competitive matches in which they broke the deadlock.
Therefore, it would be no surprise here if Spain took an early lead and were content to play out a 1-0 victory. The odds are 9/2 that this is the correct scoreline.
Meanwhile, the Spanish have won 62% of their competitive matches since the last Euros to nil. This makes an odds-against price of 6/5 on another win to nil against the Czechs profitable.
How deadly Spain are in front of goal could hinge on whether it is Alvaro Morata or Aritz Aduriz that is tasked with leading the line. The feeling is that it will be the former, which makes Morata a solid first-scorer punt at 10/3.
The latter could prove an especially popular bet, with the Arsenal man having netted the first goal in three of his last seven outings for the national side.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.