Free Soccer Pick: Spain vs. Italy Group C
The last two World Cup champs meet up in their first match in Euro 2012 betting action on Sunday afternoon, when Spain hook up with Italy.
The Spanish are the favorites to win Euro 2012 at +240, and it should be considered no surprise that this is the case. They are clearly one of the best teams in the world at just about every position, and this is really the only match that we can see ending with a bit of trouble for them. Over the course of its last four friendly matches, Spain beat teams by the aggregate score of 12-1. Granted, games against Venezuela, Serbia, Korea, and China aren’t as tough as the fixtures that the team is going to run across in this competition, this was clearly a good tune up for what might be ahead. The Spaniards are going to be led into battle by a fearless leader in net, Iker Casillas. Casillas doesn’t often have all that much pressure on him because of the dominance of his offense in front of him, but when he is tested, he is usually a giant in net. Fernando Torres is one of the many skilled strikers that this team has to offer as well, and he has a heck of a lot to prove to his current club team, Chelsea, after essentially being stuck on the bench for the Blues for the parts of the season, including in the Champions League.
Euro 2012 is clearly a case of good news and bad news for the Italians. The good news is that they do have the talent to get the job done against anyone in the world, and that includes Spain. Youngster Mario Balotelli is one of the best strikers on the planet at the moment, and he helped Manchester City win the Premier League title on the final day of the season this year. The bad news though, is that the team really is in shambles right now. There are all sorts of off the field problems with match fixing scandals going on, and the racism that is apparent in Poland and Ukraine is really under the skin of some of the players on the Italian side. The team almost didn’t play in Euro 2012, and that was as recently as just this past week. Now, it could be considered up in the air whether the team really has the goods, in spite of the talent, to make it through some of the toughest teams that the continent has to offer.
The Final Word: Spain is the slightly better of these two teams, but there is no doubt that it is the emotionally and mentally stronger. The Italians have been in bad form coming into this tournament, and we think that that will come back to bite them in the end. This could be a romp of a match in favor of La Roja to start off their title defense.
Spain vs. Italy Prediction: Spain 3 – Italy 0