France has a hard task in front of them when they take on world and European champions Spain at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine on Sat. June 23rd. The Euro 2012 quarterfinal game will still be welcomed by France though as they nearly found themselves eliminated in the group stage.
GamblingNerd predict France to take this match by a goal in a tight game, William Hill has the best odds selection for now and pays 19/5 (4.80) for a 90-min win French win and 16/1 (17.00) for 2-1 France result bet.
They opened the tournament in decent form with a 1-1 draw against England and followed it up with a 2-0 win over co-hosts Ukraine. However, they were beaten 2-0 by Sweden in their third and final game. If Ukraine had managed to beat England by a goal, France would have been eliminated due to the tiebreaking rule of goals scored. However, a Ukraine shot that appeared to cross the goal line against England was ruled no goal and England hung on for a 1-0 win.
The win saw England win group D with seven points followed by France with four, and Ukraine and Sweden with three each. France didn’t look too good against Sweden at all as they were struggling ion defence and didn’t have much of an attack going for them either. Manager Laurent Blanc doesn’t seem too concerned about meeting Spain though.
The French knew if they progressed that they’d have to face either Spain or Italy and it doesn’t really make a difference to them since both teams pose a threat. The loss to Sweden was France’s first in their past 23 games and they’ll need to bounce back pretty quickly or they’ll be going home after the game against Spain. Blanc will be without the services of defender Philippe Mexes against the Spanish since he’s suspended for the game due to yellow cards.
It’s believed that Laurent Koscielny will take the centre back’s place. He doesn’t have much experience though since he has just three caps for France. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is in fine form and made several excellent saves against Sweden on Tuesday. He’ll need to keep up the same form to thwart the Spanish attackers.
Historically, France has the edge since Spain hasn’t ever beaten them in a competitive match. The French beat them the last time 3-1 at the 2006 World Cup. Spain finished in first place in Group C at Euro 2012 after drawing 1-1 with Italy in their first match, beating Ireland 4-0 and then wrapping up the group stage with a 1-0 win against Croatia on an 88th-minute goal.
They won the group with seven points followed by Italy with five, Croatia with four and a pointless Irish squad. The Spanish struggled with Croatia and will be in for a hard battle against France. Manager Vicente del Bosque know the French will be a lot better than they were against Sweden and is warning his players to make sure they don’t go into the game as an overconfident bunch.
He feels France is harder to play against than Ukraine and England and feels they will try to take the initiative against his team. He added that his players need to keep their eyes on Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri, and Franck Ribery at all times. The winners of the game will meet the winner of the Czech Republic vs Portugal quarterfinal.
Predictions for Spain v France
This will be a closely contested match, but France could surprise Spain and take it by a goal. We’ll go for French win here which would be seen as a small surprise but France will improve in this game and Spain is definitely not unbeatable like before.
Sportsbook William Hill’s latest odds have a Spanish victory at 4/5 with a France win at 19/5/ and a 90-minute draw at 23/10.
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