Michael Lintorn has scrutinised the Opta stats and found little to encourage Spain ahead of a tricky quarter-final against France...
"Spain have never won a competitive game against France (L5 D1)."
Recommended Bet: Lay Spain to win @ 1.910/11
Spain have never won a competitive game against France (L5 D1)
Yes, those struggles occurred before they emerged as the team to beat in international football, yet the same was true of Italy, who held them again in Group C. Additionally, the last of the above meetings occurred after Spain felt they had overtaken France, in World Cup 2006's round-of-16, when they were supposed to be retiring Zinedine Zidane but instead blew a lead to lose 3-1, the veteran scoring the third. Eight of the Spain side who started that match are either still in the squad today or would be were it not for injury.
Iker Casillas already has six clean sheets at the European Championship to his name (level with Italy's Dino Zoff); only Edwin van der Sar (nine) has more
Opta note that Spain haven't conceded more than once in a World Cup or European Championship fixture since being shown up by France in Germany six years ago, indicating that even if Les Bleus are to recover from defeat to Sweden by sending the holders home, it is likely to be by the slimmest margin imaginable. All three of France's group ties produced under 2.5 goals, as did two of Spain's.
Karim Benzema has attempted 17 shots without scoring, the most of all players at Euro 2012 who are still waiting for their first strike
There are two ways to look at this: either he is having a complete mare, or he is getting in the right positions with his luck sure to turn soon. As a huge admirer of Benzema and the productive season that he has enjoyed at Real Madrid, this writer will take the latter view. The forward has participated in two quarter-finals already this year, scoring twice to break APOEL's resistance in the Champions League and grabbing an equaliser that had Barcelona fearing elimination in the Copa del Rey.
Lay Spain to win @ 1.910/11
Back under 2.5 goals @ 1.635/8
Back Benzema to score @ 4.216/5
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