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Euro Cup 2012 Free Picks – Spain vs. Ireland Lines + Predictions

Spain vs Ireland Euro Cup 2012 Betting Picks + Odds

In what looks like the biggest mismatch thus far, action from Group C of the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament continues with the Republic of Ireland looking to rebound after being blown out by Croatia when they take on the defending champions Spain on Thursday.

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When: Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM EST
Where: PGE Arena Gdansk
TV: ESPN
Line: Spain, -1.5 (-509), Ireland (+1010), Draw (+440)

The Irish are massive underdogs in this match, and find themselves teetering on the brink of elimination after losing 3-1 to Croatia in their opening match.

Now they must find a way to get points from both of their remaining matches, starting with the Spaniards and then the Italians. No small feat to say the least.

So being outgunned, what’s the game plan?

Well for starters, the Micks will want to keep the game tight, playing a cagey style on both sides of the ball in an effort to slow down Spain’s potent attack. They will also want to stay away from giving up free kicks anywhere near their end, which could result in goals off set pieces. So staying out of foul trouble will be crucial.

The attack will need to be well-defined, quick, and not allowing room for a Spanish counter attack. That means the trio of Aiden McGeady, Damien Duff and skipper Robbie Keane, will need to try to take advantage of a weakened Spanish back line early, so the side might afford to settle into a defensive posture. [ad-3678122]

Finally, goalkeeper Shay Given needs to have a top-notch performance if coach Giovanni Trapatton’s side wants to stay alive.

While this all may sound like an impossible strategy, let’s not forget that this high-octane Spain side was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Italy in its opening match.

Call it dim-witted, or daring, the move by boss Vincente Del Bosque to sit Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente, in order to use Cesc Fabregas up front in their match against the Italians, backfired.

The plan saw minimal success, nearly costing the side a critical loss, until Spain scored the equalizer three minutes after conceding the opening goal.

I am sure the Irish will not see that plan again, but then again you never know.

Meanwhile, the one area of concern for the Spanish going forward is their defense. Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergio Ramos played an awful match against Italy, and although they will be up against a much weaker Irish side, they will need to play that much better if Spain have plans on making history.

Matt’s Free Pick– Spain– If Spain plays as it did against Italy, this could get dicey. However, I expect them to learn from their lack of eagerness in their opening match that almost ended in defeat. Look for Spain to get on the board early, en route to a 3-1 win.

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