TRAP was right. Take two. Less than 24 hours after he predicted Fernando Torres (above) would start against Ireland, it’s been confirmed that the Chelsea hitman (missman?) replaces Cesc Fabregas in the starting XI here at PGE Arena Gdansk.
The Barcelona attacker scored Spain’s only goal in the opener against Italy, and spoke yesterday of his delight at being a regular with Spain.
Bad Times Cesc, bad times.
The personnel switch means Spain change tactic too, to a 4-2-3-1, with Silva, Xavi, Iniesta behind the lone forward. Vicente Del Bosque has not been, as some suggested, afraid to make the switch – which was widely criticised by the Spanish press, and motormouth Jose Mourinho.
The more conventional lineup should see Spain create more, and more often, against a defence and midfield that’s rather simple by international standards.
Heck, it’s simple by any standards.
The Spanish six-man midfield/attack is usually employed to tempt a defence off their deep defensive line, and shift players out of position.
This Ireland team doesn’t tend to move too far forward though. So watch for Torres on the shoulder of the defence, waiting to burst in behind the full backs with Iniesta, Silva and Xavi waiting to deliver.
Torres is 9/2 for first goal scorer, but if you want a few more quid, Richard Dunne is 33/1 and a set piece is perhaps Ireland’s best chance of grabbing a goal.
SPAIN: Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Piqué, Alba; Xabi, Busquets; Silva, Xavi, Iniesta; Torres.