Holders Spain get the Euro 2016 campaign underway this afternoon looking to win an unprecedented treble of European Championship trophies. After the golden age of the 2008 and 2012 successes that task may be a little harder this time around but that doesn’t mean they can be written off just yet.
Their preparations for the tournament didn’t end in the best possible fashion when they were beaten 1-0 by Georgia in their last warm up game. An embarrassing result for Victor Del Bosque’s side and one that certainly raised a few eyebrows across Europe
They may no longer have the mercurial Xavi in Midfield and Andres Iniesta is now 32 but they still have key figures such as Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets at their disposal and more importantly these are players who have seen and done it all before and that experience could prove vital in the later stages of the tournament
The main questions that everyone has been asking in terms of the Spain team is who will be given the nod to start in goal between Iker Casillas and David De Gea. It’s youth over experience but the situation would have been no clearer after the allegation regarding De Gea broke over the weekend. Will Del Bosque opt for Casillas time around because the United keeper’s head may not be fully on the game
Another question is where will the goals come from this time around. Back in 2012 they famously played the 4-6-0 formation to great effect. This time they have the much wanted Alvaro Morata leading the line along with a supporting cast of the evergreen Adrian Aduriz, the impressive Noltio and the Real Madrid youngster Lucas Vazquez
As for their opponents Czech Republic, their key men will be Petr Cech in goal and his former Arsenal teammate Tomas Rosicky they also will be aided by Sparta Prague’s David Latafa who has got an eye for a goal but scoring freely in the Czech League is quite the difference to playing in a major tournament so he’s going to have his work cut out if he has to have any success this Afternoon
The Czech’s warm up for the tournament saw mixed fortunes with wins over both Russia and Malta before a defeat to South Korea in their final game before the competition proper. They were also impressive in qualifying twice getting the better of Holland and all but ending the Oranje’s qualification hopes
As for Today it may not be the Spain of old but there is still an incredible embarrasment of riches at Vicente Del Bosque’s disposal. I don’t necessarily think Spain will go all the way but I do think they will win this encounter and get their tournament of to an ideal start. Spain win for me.