(Iniesta has been Spain's star man so far)
Neither France or Spain have played up to their form in the tournament up to this game with Italy looking more dangerous in Spain's opener & they also looked ponderous against Croatia, France huffed & puffed against England & then threw in an aberration of a performance against Sweden & ended up losing 2-0.
France just haven't looked to have enough of a cutting edge, Benzema has played well but has too often been facing away from goal in an attempt to bring his midfielders into play. Franck Ribery hasn't done enough for us especially with his considerable talent & France don't seem to be able to decide who should be their wide right player with Nasri, Menez & Ben Arfa starting there in the first three games respectively. Too often the French have had to rely on distance shooting, which is odd considering the intricacy they can play with, & that doesn't bode well against the excellent shot stopper that is Iker Casillas in Spain's goal.
Spain have hardly been sparkling going forward either, we can't give the Ireland game too much weight because Ireland were so bad, they had no point of attack against Italy & didn't create anywhere near enough against Croatia. Spain do look better when Iniesta gets on the ball with him looking to release it & then make runs behind the defence & he could do well against the French defence that will be missing the suspended Philippe Mexes at centre back.
(Franck Ribery has somewhat underperformed for France & needs to step up his game)
France haven't looked all that convincing in defence other than at right back where Debuchy has really announced himself as a smart prospect, their central defenders have looked a little one paced indecisive at times & Gael Clichy coming in to replace Evra really hasn't helped at left back - Sweden seemed to have identified him as a weak link & attacked regularly down that side. Spain however have conceded the least goals in the tournament, keeping clean sheets in their last two & gaining their trademark 1-0 win last time out, with Casillas in goal they are tough to score against & they keep possession so well opposing teams get few chances against them.
We can see this being a really tight affair & there is some value to be had backing under 1.5 goals at 2/1 with Ladbrokes & Stan James as this could easily end up being settled by a single goal, we prefer to take Spain to win 1-0 though just as they did in the three knockout games leading up to final of the World Cup, the bet is available at 11/2. We don't feel that Spain have been at their best but feel that France mightn't be the right type of team to beat them at this stage although a semi final against Portugal could be a different story.......
Spain to win 1-0 at 11/2 (BetVictor & Ladbrokes)