Spain v France
To score, or not to score. That is the question. Some day soon, perhaps in this third quarter-final, Andres Iniesta and Karim Benzema will score again.
It would appear to be only a matter of time for this much-vaunted duo; Iniesta, a key cog making Spain tick, and Benzema, something of a cultured bulldozer for the French.
They are a bit of an odd couple in this tournament. They furrow the brow. Benzema, with 12 shots, and Iniesta, with ten, are Nos 2 and 3 on the list for most efforts on target but they are yet to score.
It is a conundrum we have discussed before in this column. On the one hand as a punter you are desperate to be with a player who can regularly test the goalkeeper, get in good positions, cause consternation. But hang on, do these stats not show that, in fact, Benzema and Iniesta are poor finishers?
That is a harsh charge. We have twice tipped Benzema to score in Euro 2012. Patience has probably run out. A wise old sage said to me, however, (just before I sat down to type this). "You were right to tip him, but don't forget he is not playing with Cristiano Ronaldo in this tournament".
Indeed. In Portugal's games, rather than France's, one can see why Benzema was so dangerous in La Liga.
Iniesta we have more faith in. We are not sure about subscribing to the idea of 'big players for big games'. Iniesta is just a big player full stop and it would be churlish to use the stats against him to say 'he can't finish'. We know, fundamentally, that he can.
So instead of Benzema (and we will curse at the television if does notch this time) at 4.2016/5 we'll go for the little Spaniard at 5.104/1. He should be afforded enough space against a France team who, surely after their whining against England, will come out to play.
David Silva, with six shots on target, has been superb and is a major threat. He is 4.607/2 while Fernando Torres, who is expected to get the green light from Vicente Del Bosque, the coach, to start, is 3.002/1.
Other Frenchmen we feel confident enough to rule out are Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery at 7.4013/2 and 6.205/1 respectively because both have been carrying injuries. Scrub out, too, Hatem ben Arfa. He had a falling out with Laurent Blanc, the manager, so the 9.6017/2 available would be a better wager if it was a price about him getting on the pitch.
A Iniesta to score at 5.104/1
It says something about the strength of this Spain side that Cesc Fabregas is not a regular starter. But it could be a boost for punters as the Barcelona man catches the eye at around 8.4015/2. We know he will come off the bench and we know he will give fresh impetus to a shrewd and silky Spain side. Fabregas could pop up with a key goal, just as he did against the Italians.