Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Spain V England
Friday 13th November. 7:45PM. ITV 1
After qualifying for Euro 2016 in emphatic style, Roy Hodgson’s England begin serious preparations for next summer’s tournament with a difficult trip to the Estadio Jose Perez, where they will take on an equally in-form Spain.
Both nations will be looking to build on good qualifying form by claiming victory in this friendly. It’s a great chance for them each to find out exactly where they stand right now, and could be a crucial step en rout to France.
It should be an intriguing battle to say the least.
Del Bosque Mixing Youth With Experience
Every Spain squad is going to be blessed with class, but Vicente del Bosque’s side looks certainly geared to giving a few new faces a chance. Those fresh faces will be eager to stake a claim for a place in the starting XI next June, which should make them very exciting to watch.
No less than eleven of the players named have yet to reach the 10-cap milestone, and the likes of Thiago Alacantra and Nacho will be particularly eager to impress. Nevertheless, the hosts do still possess plenty of experience with the midfield trio of Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Santi Cazorla boasting nearly 300 caps between them.
Spain have been in great form in 2015 too, winning seven of their eight international fixtures thus far. Meanwhile, they haven’t lost to England on home turf since 1987 so confidence will be high. The result isn’t the only important issue, but they will want to take this opportunity for building confidence and firing a warning to their rivals.
As with any Spanish side, we should expect to see some cracking football.
Can Vardy Bring League Form To The International Stage
Despite winning all 10 games in qualifying, Roy Hodgson faces some huge selection dilemmas ahead of next summer’s tournament. Friday’s showdown in Spain is a fantastic opportunity to test his players against one of the Euro 2016 favourites.
One of the big stories will be whether Leicester’s Jamie Vardy can continue his cracking Premier League form against an international powerhouse. His rise to prominence has been absolutely crazy, and there should be a chance for him to show his credentials here.
Meanwhile, skipper Wayne Rooney will be eager to show that he is still England’s main man. A goal against either Spain or France over the coming days would be the perfect ending to a record-breaking 2015. However, Hodgson will be equally interested to see how the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Eric Dier, and Ryan Bertrand can perform against a top side. Similarly, it will be good to test the improved Chris Smalling against La Roja as the Manchester United man could be a great shout to lead England’s backline next summer.
England are still unbeaten since being humiliated in Brazil at the 2015 World Cup. After picking up a draw in Italy back in March, the Three Lions would love to go one better here. Let’s hope they can do just that!
Spain V England Betting
With home advantage on their side, Spain enter this clash as the odds-on favourites at 7/10 with Bet365. However, patriotic England fans could be tempted by 4/1 on an away win while the draw looks decent value at 13/5.
As a contest, it should be intriguing. But as a spectacle, we’re not so sure. Both teams have been pretty solid defensively while notable absences in both attacking lines could be a major issue in terms of the attacking flow.
The bookies seem to think it will be a game of few chances, and they don’t tend to get big international fixtures wrong. The last four meetings have seen at least one side fail to hit the target, and we think it could be another tight one here.[quote_center]Under 2.5 goals @ 8/13 with Bet365[/quote_center]
We can’t have an England match without a little patriotic bet. It’s not one we’d suggest backing big money on, but we’re backing Raheem Sterling to open the scoring at incredible odds of 18/1.
The Manchester City man is one of world football’s most exciting youngsters and this is the perfect stage for him to show us what he’s capable of next summer. He found the net in the first of two England game’s in October. He’s got to be worth a punt to find the target in Alicante. Considering the predicted tightness, you might as well take the FGS.[quote_center]Raheem Sterling to score first @ 18/1 with Bet365[/quote_center]