Online sports gambling handicappers have a lot of respect for this elite World Cup Football betting commodity that is the defending European champion team.
But while Spain may be the champions of Europe, they not had any success in previous FIFA World Cup tournaments and they were somewhat shaky in Group H action.
Spain will play their first match of the 16 team knockout stage on Tuesday when they face a Portugal team that they have beaten in 15 out of 20 decisions with 12 draws.
Spain did win Group H with 2 wins and 1 draw as Chile finished in 2nd position. Spain opened up with an absolutely stunning 0-1 upset loss to Switzerland that set off a virtual panic in their homeland along with a lot of distressed gamblers that made the overlay.
Spain did recover in their next match, however, and scored a 2-0 win over Honduras. That was followed up with a Group H finale against Chile that Spain took by a 2-1 margin.
Spain basically admits that they are winning ugly but that they will not complain or apologize for doing so as they are focused on the ultimate prize and big picture. So far their elegant passing attack has been shelved for a more physical and defensive style of play.
Head coach Vincente del Bosque said the team is trying to merge a winning formula with a bit of a compromise approach.
“We try to mix the beautiful with the pragmatic,” said Del Bosque. “Football isn’t just about finding the best game, but about defending and sticking to it.”
Spain’s Adres Iniesta, who scored the winning goal against Chile, seconded his coach’s philosophy.
“We’d all love to play beautifully and score five goals a game, but that doesn’t always happen,” said Iniesta. “This is football, this is the World Cup and games are played at a high level so we have to be happy.”
David Villa will be an important man to watch for Spain as he has 3 goals so far in the FIFA World Cup.
Del Bosque summed up the essence of Tuesday’s match when he said that “From now on it’s going to be emotional. It’s life or death.”