International Friendly: Spain V Saudi Arabia – Saturday, 29th May

27th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

Spain V Saudi Arabia

Saturday, 29th May – 17:00 GMT
International Friendly
Venue: Austria

  

Spain

Whereas the talk should be about the high probability of Spain contesting their first World Cup final, and how the competition favourites and current reigning European champions will be a force to be reckoned with over the summer, it is instead solely about their current injury crisis involving three Spanish superstars. Andres Iniesta is recovering from a torn muscle in his leg, Cesc Fabregas on the mend from a fractured leg and Fernando Torres recuperating from knee surgery to repair torn cartilage while all three missed the end of their domestic campaigns with  their respective clubs. To make matters just that little bit worse, Xavi, instrumental during Spain Euro 2008 winning adventure, has spent the last few weeks of the season playing through the pain barrier with Barcelona with a calf injury.

We think it’s fair to say that were it not for a plague of injuries yo extremely vital personnel, Spain might be considered the overwhelming favourites to end their World Cup duct by winning the very first FIFA World Cup to be held on African soil. ‘It is what is’ as a Russian might say, and the current situation for coach Vicente Del Bosque isn’t a prosperous one. Even so, there’s no debating that Spain’s squad is full to the brim with talent, players who could walk into almost any team in the world and claim a starting berth such is the quality and depth within the Spanish ranks. Should one or all three suffer any sort of setback, Del Bosque has ready-made replacements, although there’s little doubt that a player like Fernando Torres, a player with a fearful reputation around Europe after a prolific couple of season with Liverpool in England, is difficult to replace. In midfield though, despite the immense quality of both Iniesta and Fabregas, players like Xavi, Alonso, Sergio Busquets and Javier Martinez are all top-rate players and worthy midfield substitutes.

Enough about Spain’s injury woes, although it does lead us onto our next point quite nicely, as Vicente Del Bosqie tries his hand with Spain’s first pre-World Cup friendly against Saudi Arabia of Asia. The match will be played on neutral ground in Austria, and while a match up with Saudi Arabia may look a tad strange and bizarre, hardly a thorough examination of Spain’s world Cup credentials one might say, it does at least give those currently carrying knocks, nursing injuries or regaining fitness after injury the chance to boost their fitness levels as well as tweak their match sharpness. Even Cesc Fabregas, who hasn’t played a competitive game since the end of March, may get a much needed run-put against the Arabs of Asia.

I bet you’re fed up hearing all the injury alarm bells and we don’t blame you, but Saturday’s encounter with an unusual opponent will enable those still vying for a place in Del Bosque’s final 23-man squad a chance to shine, to leave one final lasting impression on the coach before he announces his 23 players officially going to South Africa with the rest of the squad. There will also be players, the likes Busquets and Martinez, who know full well that their services may well be required in South Africa if players do fall foul to yet more injuries of knocks, so the pair will want to ensure they’re first on Del Bosque’s mind should a situation like that arise. Up front, Fernando Llorente will have a rare opportunity to impress from the start, with the Athletic Bilbao forward normally a Torres/Villa back up.

As we’ve drowned on about injuries throughout, the majority of the discussions surrounding the Spanish are about their injured stars and Saturday is an ideal scenario, despite putting into question the quality of opposition, to silence a few doubters. There will be many wanting to impress, eager to show that they can be a part of Vicente Del Boqsue’s summer plans in South Africa, so it should be a committed performance from the current European champions.

 

Saudi Arabia

This game with Saudi Arabia did take us by surprise as we were expecting an opponent with a little more going for them, a side that would test Spain, especially from a defensive point of view as for all Spain’s qualities in the midfield and forward areas, there has always been question marks hanging over their defence, as was the case at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup where they lost 2-0 to the United States in the semi-final. However, a small fact even we failed to hear was that this Saudi Arabia side are unbeaten in their previous eight internationals, a streak which stretches way back to august of last year. Granted they haven’t been playing some of the world’s finest international teams on a regular basis, but they did hold Nigeria to a 0-0 draw in their last international and were it not for some wastefulness in the final third, could have recorded a narrow win over the Super Eagles.

It should be taking into consideration that Saudi Arabia did only miss out on South Africa by virtue of an inferior goal difference, coming third in a Group which contained South Korea and North Korea.

 

Match Odds:

Spain – 1.13 SkyBet
Draw – 8.00 WilliamHill
Saudi Arabia – 19.00 Boylesports

 

Our Prediction: Spain to WIN – 1.13 SkyBet

Nominating Spain for victory wasn’t a touch call, as even without some of their stars they should despatch of Saudi Arabia without too much of a fuss. The likes of Xavi, Sergio Ramos and David Silva will cause the Saudi defence all sorts of problems with their slick interplays and forward runs, while we mustn’t forget that David Villa, who recently signed for La Liga winners Barcelona, is fully fit, healthy and raring to go. This should be straightforward for the 2010 FIFA World Cup favourites. It’s time to show the entire footballing world why they’re held in such high regard.



The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+




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