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Spain vs. Ireland Preview

Tournament favourites Spain face the Republic of Ireland in Thursday evening’s late kick off in Group C. The Spanish were held to a 1-1 draw with Italy on Sunday, with Cesc Fabregas equalising after Antonio Di Natale’s opener on the hour mark.

The two teams met almost ten years ago to the day, in the last sixteen of the 2002 World Cup. Robbie Keane’s last minute penalty cancelled out Fernando Morientes’s early opener, with Spain eventually winning 3-2 on penalties. That was Irelands last tournament game, before their 3-1 defeat to Croatia on Saturday, while Spain have gone on to dominate European and World football in that time period.

Unsurprisingly, Vincente Del Bosque’s team go in to this game as huge favourites, with nobody offering better than 1.28 (2/7) for a Spanish victory. Bodog have the best odds of 6/5 (11/2) for the draw, as well as having the best price of 15.0 (14/1) for the Republic of Ireland win.

That defeat to Croatia was Irelands first in over fifteen months. It was also the first time they had conceded away from home since their 1-1 draw with Slovakia in qualifying back in October 2010. However, tests don’t come much tougher than the prospect of facing a side going for a record third consecutive trophy.

Even score odds on a heavy Spanish victory don’t provide much value, with the 4-0 victory priced at just 13.0 (12/1) by Stan James. Those punters tempted to back a shock result might be interested in the price of 29.0 (28/1) offered by Bet Victor for a one-nil Republic of Ireland win.

Alternatively, you might fancy Keith Andrews, arguably Irelands best player in their group opener, to give his side the lead, with some bookmakers offering 51.0 (50/1) for the midfielder to get the first goal of the game.

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