Written by Chad Nagel for Soccer Betting News. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Spain v England | Friday 13 November | Estadio Jose Rico Perez | 21:45
England will take on Spain in an international friendly match on Friday night. Both teams have secured a place in next year’s European Championship but both managers will still be making final adjustments to their squads with some players still fighting for a place in the side. England boasts a better head-to-head record over Spain, having beaten La Roja 13 times in 23 meetings. However, since Spain’s rise to the top of the international game, they’ve met The Three Lions four times and were victorious on three occasions. Spain are ranked 6th in the latest FIFA rankings while England are placed 9th.
To Win (90 Mins)
With Spain having confirmed their spot at next year's European Championship, they now face a string of friendlies as they prepare for a tilt at a third consecutive title. Vicente Del Bosque’s men qualified for the tournament in France after they finished top of Group C with relative ease - winning nine out of their 10 games, Spain will be hoping they can replicate the performances they showed four years ago at Euro 2012 and not in their most recent major tournament showing in Brazil last year.
La Roja will face a stern test against Roy Hodgson’s vibrant England side, but the Spaniards expect to beat any team they face with the quality they possess. Five Barcelona players are in the Spain squad for their friendlies against England and Belgium. Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta are the chosen ones, while Sergi Roberto misses out despite his recent electric form. Chelsea’s quartet of Diego Costa, Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro Rodriguez are in the squad despite the English Champions' awful start to the season. However, there is no place for veteran Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz, who has scored 15 goals in 20 appearances for the Basques this season. Manchester City playmaker David Silva will miss out due to an ankle injury he sustained on the last international break.
There are many creative midfielders in the Spanish squad that Del Bosque can call upon with Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata and Isco luxury options. Costa will be expected to lead the line for Spain ahead of Alvaro Morata and Paco Alcacer. Costa gives the team an unshakeable focal point in attack. He is powerful, strong and a cunning poacher relying on his speed and athleticism to sniff out the tiniest of chances and convert them into goals.
Manager Roy Hodgson has led his England side through the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a perfect record. England won all 10 of their Euro Qualifiers and were clinical in front of goal having scored 31 goals while their defence conceded just three times. The Three Lions will now test themselves against the reigning European champions in a friendly match but will be high on confidence following their impressive run of form. However, England are currently without a host of regular squad members, including Phil Jagielka, Luke Shaw, Liverpool’s quartet of Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Danny Ings and the Arsenal quartet of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck. Hodgson will still feel he has a strong squad to field with a number of players in good form for their clubs.
Tottenham’s 21-year-old midfielder Eric Dier has been awarded his first senior England call-up for the friendlies against Spain and France. Signed from formative club Sporting Lisbon in 2014, the under-21 international has excelled this season after being moved from defence into central midfield by Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino. He is joined in Hodgson's squad by club-mate Dele Alli, who keeps his place while Everton centre-back John Stones and Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph return, after spells on the sidelines.
In-form Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has been named in the England squad. Vardy's selection was never in doubt after a stunning start to the season in which he has scored 12 goals from nine successive Premier League games. It will give Vardy the chance to test himself against high-class international opposition and show what he can do if he is played through the middle by Hodgson.
Verdict: Spain 7/10
Spain have a good recent record against England having won three of their last four meetings. La Roja have a star-studded squad who have won all the major tournaments they’ve played in. This is an inexperienced England side who are missing several key players. Spain should prove too strong here.
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