Monday, December 11, 2017

Prediction: Israel vs Spain

Verdict: Over 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

Spain have dominated Group G in the UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, and they will have the chance to cap things off with a win on the road. La Furia Roja will visit Israel this Monday, although the game does not really matter for both teams. Spain already clinched their direct berth to the World Cup, while Israel are eliminated. The match starts at 19:45 BST this Monday, and Craig Thomson will be the referee.

Israel

Israel’s qualifying campaign has been disappointing, especially if we consider their results over the past five matches. They won three of their first four games and some experts believed they could pose a threat to Italy for the second place in the standings. But everything went to waste after they lost four straight games after that. They are coming off a 1-0 win over Liechtenstein, but that is not really impressive considering the opposition. And right now they sit in fourth place with just 12 points. Winning over Spain won’t change much, but there is no question that kind of result could boost the team’s morale looking towards the EURO 2020 qualifying campaign. But can they pull the upset against one of the top teams in the world?

Team News

Israel’s manager Elisha Levy will be missing some key players on both sides of the ball.

Eran Zehavi (suspension), Shir Tzedek (suspension) and Eyal Golasa (injury) are out. And as if that was not enough, both Elazar Dasa and Taleb Tawatha are out of favour with the coaching staff.

Spain

Spain have been on a roll of late, as they are riding an eight-game winning streak in the UEFA World Cup Qualifiers following their comfortable 3-0 win over Albania that secured them a World Cup berth. And knowing they have nothing to play for, it is quite possible that Julen Lopetegui decides to make some changes to the starting XI. They are clear favourites here and this seems like a good chance for the coaching staff to analyse players that do not play regularly with the National Team, such as Marco Asensio, Kepa, or Alvaro Odriozola. But they have one of the deepest squads in Europe. They should be heavy favourites even if they choose to play with an alternative squad. The numbers do not lie. Spain have scored at least three goals in five of their last six qualifying matches, and have netted an impressive total of 35 goals in nine matches.

Team News

As explained above, Spain are likely to rotate the side. For instance, David De Gea could get some much-needed rest despite being fit.

There are a few absentees, though. David Silva and Gerard Pique are suspended, while four others (Andres Iniesta, Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Morata and Vitolo) have been ruled out due to injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Spain have the advantage in the all-time record against Israel, as they have won the prior three meetings between both clubs.
  • Spain have already secured a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, so there is a chance of potential rotation among the squad.
  • Israel, on the other hand, have been eliminated and have no chances of reaching the World Cup. Although a win would move them to third place in the standings.
  • Spain have scored at least three goals in five of their last six qualifying matches.
  • Israel were riding a four-game losing streak before their win against Liechtenstein earlier this week.

Conclusion

Spain might have qualified already. But they will try to end their qualifying campaign with a win that increases the team’s morale. And considering Israel’s defensive problems, it is quite likely that we will see over 2,5 goals in this match.

Verdict: Over 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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