Out of all of the quarter final games, there is no doubt that this is the most anticipated. Both of these nations were regarded as favorites for the tournament prior to the opening match, with both seen as two of most stylish football countries in the world. However, it would be fair to say that qualification from the groups was not a walk in the park, with both dropping points on the way to the quarter final.
Having won the previous two major tournaments, it really was no surprise when the Spanish were named as the favorites for Euro 2012. However, it would be fair to say that their qualification wasn’t as straightforward as everyone expected, with the Spanish managing to record seven points – although the final few were exceptionally lucky. They were average at best against Italy and while they did thrash the Republic of Ireland, it took a late goal to beat Croatia in the final game. In fact, there were times during the game against the Croats that it looked as though Spain could be eliminated. However, they have managed to tell the tale and having not conceded a goal in the knock out stages of a major tournament since 2006, they must be massively confident ahead of this game.
France on the other hand were seen as one of the other favorites for Euro 2012. However, just like the Spanish, qualification has been anything but simple for them. While they may have been favorites to win Group D, in the end they managed to qualify only by the skin of their teeth after collecting four points. That came following a draw against England in their opening clash, before a shock defeat to Sweden just several days ago. Overall, their form certainly isn’t too shabby though. That loss to the Swedes was their first in twenty three matches, while the fact that the French have never lost against their opponents surely must provide them with plenty of confidence.
As for team news, Spain have nothing to report as the Spanish approach this game with a completely fresh squad. Having impressed in the last couple of outings, Vincente del Bosque looks set to keep Fernando Torres as his main striker – meaning that Cesc Fabregas will have to be contempt with a place on the bench again. The French meanwhile have bad news ahead of the fixture with Philippe Mexes set to miss out through suspension, although they at least have a direct replacement in the form of Laurent Koscielny. On a more positive note, despite an early scare through a thigh injury, Yohan Cabaye looks set to pull through.
In terms of a prediction, our view is that this is going to be an extremely close encounter. Both of these sides have immense attacking talent and we believe that the game will end in a 1-1 score line after ninety minutes. However, our tip is then for Spain to win the clash 2-1 in extra time.