Spain vs Italy 03/05/2014 Free International Soccer Pick and Preview
Italy vs Spain
Wednesday 5th March 2014 21:00(GMT)
The Line: Spain 3/5 Draw 3/1 Italy 6/1 See the Latest Odds
TV: Sky Sports; ESPN2; ESPN3
As with my previous previews I would just like to point out I am not a lover of friendly internationals or betting on them. Too many intangibles so if punting keep it small and enjoyable!
Spain have one of the best squads in the World and will be among the favourite to win the World Cup. The addition of Athletico Madrid striker Diego Costa to the Spain squad is quite frankly unfair. The Brazilian born (and capped) player qualifies to play for Spain through residency so the current World and European Champions get one of the most inform strikers on the planet to bolster their already superb squad. Hardly a level playing field! But moving on this squad again is underlined with superb midfield strength given the barcelona, manchester city and real madrid players Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Silva and Xabi alonso. Only five of the best players on the planet in the same interantional sqaud. Is it any wonder they are current World and European champions?
Italy on the other hand have probably one of their worst squads in decades, no real stand out striker to go with an aging midfield where Andre Pirlo is still their stand out player at 34 and a defence that is more patchwork than world class. At least in captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Italy still have a world class stopper. In coach Cesar Prandelli though Italy also have a master tactician. There is a couple of young starlets in this squad who if they step up to the mark could make this a formidable Italian team again, namely Immobile , Cerci and Verrati.
On Paper this one looks like a cakewalk for Spain but I dont think there is any such thing when facing Italian opposition. I expect the Italians to play a 4-5-1 dropping deep and allowing spain to have the ball in their own half. I think this will be a tactical battle and I expect that eventually the Spanish will break down the Italian defence but it should take some time. I'm going to go with a draw at half time in this one as I think the Italians will fight hard before going down to more talented opponents in the second half. Follow me on twitter@antonpippo