ENGLAND travel to Spain looking to continue their excellent 2015 form. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his view.
Spain v England | Friday 19:45 | ITV1
So now we get a proper barometer of England huh? Drawn in an unchallenging qualifying group (again!) they cruised through on the bridle with 10 wins out of 10. Now the champions of Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 lie in wait coming off the back of a similar comfortable qualifying campaign.
Whatever your thoughts on England’s qualification campaign it’s definitely worthy of respect. No other nation won every one of their games and while it was a comfortable group let’s not forget the second seeds in the section Switzerland pushed Argentina all the way in the World Cup last year.
England haven’t lost a qualifier since 2009 and a meaningful one since 2007. So when the pressure of a major finals is absent they tend to perform.
Will the pressure be on on Friday? I’ve a feeling the players will relish the challenge of a major opponent. They’ll go into the game confident and odds of 9/2 for a side unbeaten in 15 look decent.
But of course Spain are in a similar boat. After the shambles of the World Cup last year they kicked off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a loss to Slovakia but tossed that blow aside and won all of their remaining nine fixtures.
This is a friendly of course. Not a finals match and not a qualifier, so it’s worth having a glance at how the sides have performed in these kind of fixtures lately.
For Spain it doesn’t make amazing reading. They’ve lost three of their last four friendly matches, succumbing to European big guns Germany, France and even Holland.
England also have a patchy record with a host of draws against the likes of Honduras, Italy and the Republic Of Ireland over the last 18 months.
The 9/2 on England appeals to me far more than the 4/5 on Spain I have to say. Maybe just maybe a new leaf was turned over after their awful World Cup last year and they can kick on from that.
It’s not too long ago since England beat Italy and Brazil in friendlies and I think they’ll put on a good show here. I’m going to back them +0.75 on the Asian Handicap meaning that even if they lose by one goal I’ll get half my stake back. Now is the time for England to step up and make a mark.
Spain v England – England +0.75 Asian Handicap (13/15 BetVictor)