Spain v Czech Republic
Monday June 13, 11:00pm
The defending champions Spain kick things off with a game against the Czech Republic as they look to put the disappointment of two years ago behind them. It’s a very tough group they’ve been handed though so there isn’t a lot of room for them to make any mistakes and they’ll be looking to hit the ground running.
The Champions’ recent form is generally good as they’ve won nine of their last 12, whilst conceding just four goals, but they did suffer a shock home defeat against Georgia on the eve of the tournament. However in terms of competitive matches, they did win their final eight qualifying games without conceding a single goal.
With a midfield that never gives the ball away and the best defence in the competition we expect to see a side that is more reminiscent of the title winning team from four years ago than the outfit that crashed out at the group stage in Brazil. Spain have not lost at the European Championships since 2004 and they’ve only conceded once in nine matches since the start of the 2008 knockouts.
One place the Czech’s can take some comfort, however, is in Spain’s recent record in tournament openers. They were beaten 5-1 by the Netherlands in 2014, drew 1-1 with Italy in 2012 and lost 1-0 against Switzerland in 2010. However, there aren’t too many other positive for the Czech Republic, who won their qualifying group but did so despite failing to keep a single clean sheet and with comfortably the worst defensive record of all teams at the Finals.
In their 22 matches leading prior to the tournament, the Czechs managed just one clean sheet and that came against Malta, and as a result they look the weakest of the teams in this group.
These teams met in qualifying for the last Euros with Spain winning both games and while the Czech’s beat the Netherlands both home and away in this qualifying campaign they’ve failed to score in four of their last seven matches against teams ranked in our top 20.
If there is a weakness in the Spanish side it is in attack, where Alvaro Morata, Nolito and Aritz Aduriz have just two international goals between them, and their style of play is such that the 1-0 and 2-0 correct scores are almost mandatory picks.
Those accounted for five of their last six wins in qualifying and since that defeat in their opening game of the 2010 World Cup they’ve gone W13-D2-L0 in competitive matches against teams ranked 11th-40th with 11 wins to nil and nine wins by either 1-0 or 2-0 scores.
Against an ageing Czech side we expect Spain to continue their incredible defensive record and 2.0 for them to keep a clean sheet is a superb price. However, we expect them to win so the Win to Nil at 2.4 offers a greater return but ‘Dutching’ bets between the 1-0 at 6.5 and 2-0 at 7.0 looks to best value.
Finally, one goals bet to consider is for Under 2.5 Goals at 1.8 – that has landed in nine of Spain’s last 10 matches against teams ranked in our top 50.
BACK – Correct Score Spain 1-0 at 6.6