Spain vs Netherlands

A game that, in many people’s eyes, points towards a Spain win. The relatively unknown quantity of the Dutch defence will be a pretty decisive factor in the outcome – they are inexperienced at this sort of international level and will have to be adaptable in their approach to the game. Whether they play 3 or 4 at the back is pretty uncertain, but they will likely be getting up the pitch, where there is the possibility of getting caught behind on the counter. This makes a potential for an open game, but it will depend somewhat on Spain’s approach and attitude towards committing to attacks and fast counter-attacks or keeping possession. As a result, I would be wary of betting on Goals markets pre-game, but under 2.5 goals is around @4/7 and over @11/8.

I think that Spain will start with Costa as the head of the attack, but there is still a question mark over whether he will start – they could opt for a false nine. It makes it difficult to opt for anything in a goalscorer market, unless you feel that Holland will nick a goal first, in which case Robben first goalscorer @9/1 seems ok value because of his threat coming in from the flank. This, combined with the increased probability of Spain doing the damage going forward down the wings, could lead to rash tackles by defenders running back into position. I would say that a penalty to be awarded @11/4 is a pretty good shout, although I would wait until the line-ups are revealed to see Spain’s shape (i.e. will Pedro start out wide).

My choice, a seemingly popular one, would be Spain to win @5/6. Spain have multiple options to change their tactical approach and personnel from the bench, more so that Holland.  You wouldn’t expect the Dutch side to keep a clean sheet against this opposition, but there is always the strong possibility of a goal at the other end. Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder from set pieces have the potential to change the game even if their side are being outplayed with limited sights of goal. My choice would be a not-so-inconceivable scoreline of a 2-1 Spain victory @17/2, although the bookies’ slight favourite is 1-0 @5/1. An interesting encounter which I think points towards a narrow Spain victory.


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