Greece v Spain: Match odds, First goalscorer, Correct Score, Half time, Corners
Hang onto your hats, this could be the worst game of the tournament. Worse than France against Romania? Not in a footballing sense, but there is nothing riding on this at all. Spain are through as group winners, Greece are ignominiously out, and it's as simple as that. At least Switzerland against Portugal had the pride of one of the co hosts riding on it. Sometimes these final games provide great entertainment. Bags of goals and lots of fun before the serious work begins again, but somehow I just can't see this match fitting into that category.
The chances are that Aragones' team will still be too good for Greece, who've made a pitiful defence of their crown. They argue that they had a good goal disallowed against Russia, but they didn't deserve anything.
Greece are yet to score in Euro 2008, and don't exactly play open expansive football, and don't be fooled by Spain. They scored a hatful against Russia, but much of that was to do with the fact that Russia played into their hands. A truer measure of the way that Spain usually beat teams was the match against Sweden. They ground out the result, and relied on a reasonably solid base, the passing of Xavi and Silva, and the brilliance of Villa and Torres. It's likely that none of those players will take the field here, and that Spain will risk a loss of momentum by fielding an understrength side.
The chances are that Aragones' team will still be too good for Greece, who've made a pitiful defence of their crown. They argue that they had a good goal disallowed against Russia, but they didn't deserve anything out of that match. The same was true of the opening game against Sweden, where they allowed negativity to get in the way of the energetic pressing that won them Euro 2004. There's an argument to be made that Greece were a lot better against Russia than against Sweden, and that if they improve again they have a chance against Spain "B". They'll be desperate to win, and Spain's reserve players, unlike those of Croatia or Holland, know that they probably don't have much chance of breaking into the first team. That means that they might be that bit less motivated, but I can't really convince myself to tip Greece, and I'm certainly not backing Spain at odds on. Way too many grey areas in this one, and another match odds market to give a miss.
The obvious call here is Dani Guiza, the man from Real Mallorca who finished the season on an unbelievable run of scoring form and forced his way into the squad. I love his romantic story, and was delighted when he was picked, but the suspicion remains that he is a bit of a lump, and certainly the opposite of the two players that he's likely to replace. He'll be very short and I'll give him a swerve, much though I'd love to see him score. Cesc Fabregas may well be given the chance to shine from the start here, and he's a very backable 12.0. He had a good scoring record at Arsenal, and already has one at Euro 2008.
The game could go one of two ways. The first scenario is a devil-may-care shootout which ends 3-3. The second is a low scoring game decided by an unmemorable goal. I hate to get all Harold Steptoe about this, but I think that it will be the latter. Again, I'm not going to have a bet, but if you forced me to pick the correct score, I'd go for Spain to win by 1-0, and Greece to go home without a point or a goal.
Time to sound like a broken record again I'm afraid, but if I can't tip either team in the Match Odds market, then I'm certainly not going to have a bet here. If you're desperate to get involved, then why not back Greece as they're such a big price, but again, I really can't advise you to have a bet in a game like this.
Spain came into the tournament with the highest corners make up from qualifying, but they have been disappointing in that regard. They won only four in their first game, and defended well against Russia from wide areas, leading to only 10 corners in that game overall. They won 7 against Sweden, and didn't concede one. Greece have been steady in this regard, winning 6 corners in each of their first games, and so Spain aren't a play in the corner supremacy market, particularly given the likely change of personnel. A leave alone match with regard to most things, corners included.
Cesc Fabregas may well be given the chance to shine from the start here, and he's a very backable 12.0.