Euro 2012, Group C, Gdansk, Sunday, 5pm
The Spanish remain head of the anteposts as they try to make it three major tournament wins in a row but plenty of punters are still to be convinced by their credentials.
Having said they are in quite a friendly Group C alongside Italy, Croatia and Republic of Ireland who all face a battle for second spot.
Italy are favourites to finish second but they’ve been rattled by the match-fixing scandal in their country and questions marks hang over their ability to focus on the job in hand.
So I reckon Spain will make a winning start even though the absence of key striker David Villa and vital defender Carles Puyol slightly concerns me.
Spain love to play in the same style of Barcelona and of course their reign was ended as sides such as Real Madrid and Chelsea learned how to stop them playing.
Italy of course are past masters of stopping teams playing and I'm sure they'd take a 0-0 before kick-off.
Spain are a best 4-5 with Blue Square and the odds look pretty fair.
Picking a first scorer in the absence of Villa isn’t easy with Vicente del Bosque looking like he’ll go with Alvaro Negredo or Fernando Torres up top. With doubts over who will be at centre-forward i'd go with David Silva to net at any time at 7-2 with Paddy Power.
Man City’s midfielder is often pushed into an advance role by del Bosque and has scored in four of his last six internationals.
With Puyol missing Italy have a chance to get at Spain's central defence but I don't expect them to be over-ambitious which is why you can get decent odds of 10-1 on likely starters Antonio Cassano or Mario Balotelli to score first.
Anyone who's watched Balotelli at Man City will know he's a bit of a hothead and although this is pretty speculative I ‘m slightly tempted by 7-1 from Paddy Power and sportingbet on him to be be booked first.
Incredibly Spain have beaten Italy once in nine competitive games but they look to have too much quality for their rivals this time so back them to win to nil at 7-4 at Ladbrokes.
It could be a slow burner as Germany v Portugal was last night and draw/Spain pays a best
7-2 at Ladbrokes.
(4-5, Blue Square)
Spain to win to nil
Silva to score
(7-2, Paddy Power)