The build-up to Euro 2020 gathers pace on Friday with a high-class friendly between Iberian rivals Spain and Portugal, while dangerous tournament dark horses Italy take to the field against Czech Republic.
Iberian Rivals Battle in Madrid
It should be a cracking game in Madrid and both teams to score makes appeal at
5/6, even though the last match between Spain and Portugal was a 0-0 draw in October 2020.
Spain managed a healthy five shots on target on that occasion and Portugal were missing a stack of stars from the start, including Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota.
Silva may not be risked after playing in last week’s Champions League final but the general vibe of the game should be much more like the astonishing 3-3 draw played out by Spain and Portugal at the last World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to get his eye in ahead of the Euros and the Spanish national team looks much less experienced defensively with Sergio Ramos deemed not fit enough by Luis Enrique to be risked for the tournament.
Spain’s four centre-backs – Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Aymeric Laporte and Diego Llorente – have just 21 international caps between them and Enrique has big question marks over his goalkeeper to such an extent there are calls for Brighton’s Robert Sanchez to get the nod over Unai Simon and David de Gea.
At least Enrique has plenty of interesting attackers, most notably Gerard Moreno of Villarreal, and they can net past Portugal.
Both teams have scored in five of Spain’s last six and the sequence can continue.
Czechs can Bounce Back
Italy took their unbeaten run to 26 matches by beating San Marino 7-0 last week but they make a significant step up in class against the tricky Czech Republic.
Italy have been racking up wins mainly against poor opposition and ten clean sheets in 11 may not be quite as impressive as the run looks on paper.
Roberto Mancini, who reckons newly called-up Sassuolo striker Giacomo Raspadori could be the Paolo Rossi of the tournaments, is light on genuine attacking quality at the highest level. It could be their undoing at the Euros and the Czechs are better than they showed in the 1-0 defeat to Wales last time out when Patick Schick was sent off. The match before that they held Belgium, so Italy should be warned.
Underdogs Faroes Worth Consideration
At a whopping
5/1, consider Faroe Islands to beat a weakened Iceland outfit.
Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson, Arnor Sigurdsson (both CSKA Moscow), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley) are among the Iceland absentees and there isn’t much quality beyond those bigger names.
Faroe Island have just got promoted from Nations League D and are not quite the minnows the price suggests.
*All odds correct at time of writing