England v Spain – International Friendly Preview

England and Spain kick off at 18:15CET as the last match – and in my opinion most interesting – for this Saturday’s set of international friendly games. England ended their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign last month drawing against a resilient Montenegro side and cementing their place at the top of their qualifying group. Spain is also atop their Euro 2012 qualifying group with maximum points and will be looking to replicate their championship run in Euro 2008. There’s nothing at stake save for glory and the Three Lions will definitely be doing all they can to flex some muscle and get a positive result against the world’s best team. The Spaniards on the other hand will look to play their game and prove their worth as the World Champions.

England’s Euro qualifying bid ended positively in terms of points but their performances haven’t been very convincing in terms of quality especially towards the end of the campaign. They had to survive an early 0-2 deficit against Switzerland before drawing at Wembley and had to settle with a narrow 1-0 win against Wales in front of home fans. They were unable to beat Montenegro in either of their two games, the second of which featured Wayne Rooney’s red card. He will miss the first three games of the Euro 2012 finals as a result of his dismissal against Montenegro. Fabio Capello will look to adapt to this as early as their friendly game against Spain and has called up Daniel Sturridge and Jack Rodwell into the side. The manager also left out Rio Ferdinand due to form and Ashley Young due to injury while recalling Joleon Lescott and Glen Jonhson.

Vicente del Bosque’s squad hasn’t been as prolific in friendly games as they are in competitive matches. Their loss to Italy early in September marks their third friendly loss in the last twelve months, the others being heavy defeats suffered at the hands of Portugal and Argentina. Many will argue that international friendlies shouldn’t be a point of concern but the Spaniards will definitely have perfection in mind and this means winning every game, competitive or not. La Furia Roja’s mainstays will be excited to feature against England at the weekend, with nearly all of them fit and in good form. The only possible absentee for Spain in their next two friendlies will be Alvaro Negredo and it remains to be seen whether he will make the bench in these games.

England will want to try out an attacking formation without key players in Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney. It goes without saying that their fate in this game will depend on the cohesiveness of their back four as their players up front will need to cope with Capello’s possible experimentations. History makes Spain favorites however as they take on the Three Lions at Wembley this weekend. The last time England beat Spain was way back in 2001 via a 3-0 trouncing. The thing is, the last three games between these two sides were all won by Spain albeit narrowly, and I think this time Spaniards will repeat the history and will win again (odds around 2,15) in this thrilling clashdown!

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