Football Betting: England face real test against Spanish dream team
Fabio Capello faces his toughest test yet as England manager on Wednesday night, when he returns to Spain for the first time since clinching the La Liga title in 2007, writes Razhan Miran. Best Bet: 1-0 Correct Score [7.6]
Fabio Capello's time at Real Madrid was turbulent to say the least, as was his relationship with David Beckham, who is set to become England's most capped player at the Ramon Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, when England pit their wits against the King's of Europe.
Spain have prevailed in the last two meetings between the sides, although England have a better record overall. This is quite a meaningless statistic however, as England have not previously faced a Spanish side with such a plethora of world class players.
Vicente Del Bosque has had an impressive start to his tenure at the helm of Spain with six straight victories, and will certainly have a lot to live up to after Luis Aragones's Euro 2008 dream team set Europe alight. The squad looks similar, as does the system, with a few new additions in Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets.
Further worrying news for the England faithful is that many of Spain's stars are in fantastic form domestically, with the likes of David Villa, and Xavi playing the best football of their careers. Carles Puyol however, who has been excellent for Barcelona this year, will miss out after picking up a thigh injury.
This is unfortunate for Del Bosque, as Spain lack cover in central defence with two from Pique, the improving Raul Albiol or Carlos Marchena set to be picked at the back.
On the other hand, England have two of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Peter Crouch and Carlton Cole to break them down, so maybe it's not such a bad loss for Spain after all.
Emile Heskey and Ashley Young will miss out in Seville with injury, and with Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard already out, England's weakness in attacking options will be further exposed.
James Milner receives a first full England call up, with Phil Jagielka hoping to add a second cap to the one he earned last year. It is also interesting to see that Aston Villa had six of their players called up to the England side, whereas Liverpool had none. There are five reds in the Spain squad.
Regardless of the team selection however, Fabio Capello has got England playing the football we have all expected for so long. A combination of the balding Swede, and...well balding clown "Shteve" Mclaren, as he is now known in Holland, all but suffocated a golden generation between them.
Times have changed, and with the Italian in charge, there is hope.
Having said that, back Spain to continue an 18-match winning streak at [2.2]. A team of this quality should always be backed at odds bigger than evens when at home, no matter who the opposition are. Although, there are better value bets than this. Take Spain -0&-0.5 in the Asian Handicap at [1.87], as you get back half of your stake should Spain not win.
There is no doubt that England have a strong defence, although equally obvious is their weak front line, so the Correct Score 1-0 seems to be good value at [7.6]. Goals will be hard to come by, so take the Under 2.5 Goals at [1.7]. The Spain Clean Sheet at [2.64] also seems like a great value bet.
It is quite clear I am not expecting fire works in Seville on Wednesday evening, and nor should you. Both Capello and Del Bosque are tacticians of the highest calibre, and will concentrate more on nullifying the opposition, rather than winning the game. As all successful managers know, the two go hand in hand.
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