Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Date: Saturday, 23rd June, Kick-Off: 19:45 BST
Current European and world champions Spain take on France in the third quarter final of Euro 2012 on Saturday night with most people expecting Spain to book a semi-final place against Portugal.
Both sides play a similar style, they like to pass & play and retain posession whilst having their four attacking players interchange with each other. Both can be guilty of over playing when it comes to the final third and the team which takes more initiative when it comes to shooting could come out victorious in this one.
Spain have no injury concerns ahead of the match but coach Vicente Del Bosque does face a selection dilemma. He must choose between keeping a recognised striker in the form of Fernando Torres who has 2 goals so far or whether to revert back to playing Cesc Fabregas who also has 2 goals so far. He may also include the match winner against Croatia Jesus Navas.
France expect Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery to fit after the two midfielders did not take part in Wednesday’s training session. Nasri nursing a knee injury and Ribery having picked up a blister on his left foot. “They are doing very well,” said France assistant coach Alain Boghossian. “They missed training [on Wednesday] to look after some little niggles.”
Many Premier League managers have an interest in players from both Spain and France.
In terms of Spain, most players who are linked with moves to the Premier League haven’t really featured in this tournament as of yet.
Athletic Bilboa’s Javi Martinez has benn linked with Premier League champions Man City and runners-up Man United. But Talksport have reported today that he looks set to snub a move to England and choose Champions League finalists Bayern Munich instead.
Valencia’s Jordi Alba has been touted as a potential target for Man United. It has been suggested by former Valencia boss Unai Emery that the club have already agreed a sale of the player with Man United or Barcelona being his destination, so Man United fans may want to watch him closely on Saturday.
Finally, from Spain, Athletic Bilbao’s prolific striker Fernando Llorente has been linked with just about everybody including the 2 Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.
It has been reported the Bilbao striker will cost £30m which would seemingly rule out Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool but Manchester City or United fans may want to watch closely (if he gets a game) as he may be wearing your shirt next season.
On to France and again 3 of their players are linked with moves to England.
The French right back Mathieu Debuchy is a target for Newcastle as they look for a replacement for the outgoing Danny Simpson but had a £4m offer rejected by Lille. Now it’s reported that Chelsea could also enter the race for the highly impressive right back.
France’s midfield enforcer Yann M’Vila looks set for North London with Arsenal after their only serious contenders Bayern Munich pulled out of the running.
He looks set to be joined at Arsenal by another French star Olivier Giroud. The impressive forward enjoyed a terrific season for Montpellier as they secured the Ligue 1 title. Arsene Wenger has confirmed Giroud is 90 percent an Arsenal player.
There is no doubt this match will be intensly watched by Premier League managers, scouts and fans alike.
Eye-catcher bets from Bet-At-Home.com
France to lead at Half Time 4,60
France to only score 1 Goal 2,35
3 or more Second Half goals 5,50
4 Goals in the entire game 6,50
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