Spain are looking to put their disappointing World Cup behind them as they look to climb to the top of Group C this weekend.
Spain are in the rather unusual position of currently sitting in second place in Group C following an inconsistent start to their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016. A 5-1 hammering of Macedonia in September was followed by a shock 2-1 defeat to current group leaders Slovakia before normality returned with a 4-0 victory over Luxembourg in their latest outing, goals coming courtesy of Man City star David Silva, Chelsea’s Diego Costa, Bayern player Juan Bernat and Valencia’s Paco Alcacer.
Slovakia have proven themselves to be the dark horses of the group and their 100% record in the qualifiers includes some notable results, an away win against Ukraine followed by the defeat of reigning champions Spain. The home side on this occasion sit level on points with Ukraine in second place and will be desperate to climb to the top of the table alongside the current leaders.
Spain still seem to be suffering from a World Cup hangover of sorts, hardly surprising when one considers their dreadful campaign in that tournament. Indeed, they started the competition as one of the favourites following their excellent triumph in South Africa 2012.
They were completely humiliated by both the Netherlands and Chile in the group stages, some pride restored slightly in their final match against Australia, defeating the men from down-under 3-0 before waving goodbye to Brazil.
This could have been the end for manager Del Bosque, however he remains in his job and has started to introduce some new blood into the squad, Paco Alcacer being an obvious example. Alcacer has managed three goals in four appearances on the international stage and looks set to be the saviour in this competition, 888sport offering a decent 17/5 for the 21-year-old to break the deadlock. Diego Costa has proven to be rather disappointing for Spain so far and will not likely be missed in this encounter, the Chelsea star playing no part due to injury.
Belarus will be expected to effectively ‘Park the bus’ in front of goal and coach Andrei Zygmantovich will play a hugely defensive match. Spain could find it rather difficult to break down the Belarus defence, however they will be expected to win out in the end. Nevertheless, we anticipate a low scoring encounter so don’t bank on a goal-fest!
Our betting tips
Spain to win 2-0 – BetVictor 6/1
First Goalscorer, Paco Alcacer – 888sport 17/5