What To Expect Today From The Euros. Day 3.

  • Spain to start sluggishly in their match in the same way that Germany did against Portugal. The big question for the Spaniards is who will start-up front? Will Del Bosque pick Torres who has had a poor season with Chelsea or start with Llorente after his impressive season with Bilbao. Spain will dominate possession as always but will they be able to create any clear-cut chances? Quite often they keep the ball for long periods without really creating anything. They were poor in their last friendly, a 1-0 win over China but not much can be read into friendly matches. Captain Casillas has admitted to some nerves through out the squad but claims that is normal before the tournament.
  • Italy have become a more attacking side under manager Prandelli but they might have to curb those instincts against Spain who are very good at exploiting space. They will most likely sit back and hope to catch Spain on the counter as Spain do lack a bit of pace in midfield and commit a number of bodies forward to attack. It looks certain that De Rossi will start in defense where he will look to launch attacks from deep. He normally plays in the center of midfield for his club side, Roma. But he has played in defense for Roma this season with limited success. Italy are lacking in quality centre backs. Up front which Balotelli will show up for Italy? Will he perform to his best or will he become a liability for his side just as he became for Man City during the title run in. Because of that issue he may start on the bench with either Cassano or Di Natale to lead the line.
  • Ireland will look to their opening match and think that this is their most winnable game. Manager Trapattoni might have liked to play Croatia last as he would want his side to grow into the tournament. They don’t have the most creative side and will play with two solid banks of four and look to their wingers to create most of their chances. So much play will go through the wings looking to supply Robbie Keane and one of Kevin Doyle or Shane Long. If they go behind early they will have to abandon their defense approach and look for goals as they know 3 points in this game is vital if they are to have any chance of progressing.
  • Croatia come into the game with a lot of the pressure off them. Not many media outlets seem to give their side much hope of getting out of the group. This is Bilic’s last tournament as he will leave the Croatia job after the Euros. He will be hoping for a happy send off and will look for his team to play the ball on the ground as Ireland’s midfield are not as strong technically. They have a fantastic play-maker in Modric and he will be the focal point of their play. There is some concern about their full-backs and that’s where Ireland will look to hurt them.
  • The midfield battle between Spain and Italy will also be fascinating. Seeing two midfield playmakers in Pirlo and Xavi could be one of the highlights of the Euros.
  • Will the alleged tension between the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in the Spain squad affect their play? Pique has denied he has any problems with defensive partner Sergio Ramos but we will see.

Italy and Spain faced each other at Euro 08 where Spain went through on penalties.

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