Verdict: Over 3.5 goals
Best Odds: 9/4
2010 World Cup winners Spain lock horns with Tunisia as both sides polish their form ahead of the 2018 showpiece tournament which is less than a week away. The game will be played at Krasnodar Stadium in Russia where both sides are hoping to feel the ground and atmosphere before the big event.
La Roja are determined to get back on the pedestal of international football after some rather disappointing performances at the global stage of late. The 2010 World Cup winners seem to have recovered from the Euro 2016 elimination going unbeaten in 19 consecutive matches since losing to Italy in the Last 16 stage in France.
Julen Lopetegui’s men were still given a wake-up call by Switzerland who held Spain to a 1-1 stalemate last time out. Odrizola opened the scoring one minute shy of the half-hour mark whereas Rodriguez leveled the score after an hour of play to set the final 1-1 result. La Roja lined up a strong side with Diego Costa, Andres Iniesta, David De Gea all featuring among others. Lopetegui made six changes during the game and is expected to shuffle his deck once again as he looks for the perfect formula ahead of the World Cup. Spain are slotted in Group B together with Iberian neighbours Portugal, Morocco and Iran. The final prep game will be a perfect chance for Spain to get back to their high-scoring routine which saw them finish the World Cup qualifying campaign with 36 goals scored and only three conceded. What’s more, their tally of 60 goals scored in just 19 games of Lopetegui’s reign speaks volumes of the type of football Spain are playing at the moment.
Spain are likely to welcome back Real Madrid stars Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves, Marco Asensio and Isco who were all given an extended break after their Champions League victory.
Julen Lopetegui is expected to hit the ground with his strongest side possible although we do expect him to make several changes during the game and test further options for the World Cup.
Tunisia have been performing admirably over the past twelve months during which time they successfully qualified for the World Cup after topping their Group D ahead of Congo, Libya and Guinea.
Tunisia finished the qualifying cycle unbeaten and with only four goals conceded. Their unbeaten run stretches to nine matches in all competitions and includes back-to-back 2-2 stalemates against Portugal and Turkey, respectively. The Tunisian side showed great resolve and determination to come back from going two goals down against the reigning European champions Portugal whereas they could count themselves unfortunate for failing to hold on to a 2-1 lead against Turkey last time out. Caglar Soyuncu served Tunisia with a heartbreak in the 90th minute of the game by denying them a victory that would have been a valuable morale boost ahead of the Spain test. The forthcoming clash against La Roja will be another important test for Tunisia who will be fighting against England and Belgium for their place in the knockout stage.
There have been no injury concerns for Nabil Maaloul’s side and we should expect to see the absolute strongest Tunisia side.
The team’s biggest star Wahbi Khazri sat out his team’s 2-2 stalemate against Turkey and is expected to return to the foil. Anis Al Badri will be another player in the Tunisia team to keep an eye on.
Key Factors to Consider
- Tunisia have scored at least once in each of their last four matches
- Spain scored an impressive tally of 60 goals in just 19 games under Julen Lopetegui
- La Roja are unbeaten in their last 19 competitive outings
- Spain finished the qualifying stage with 36 goals scored and only 3 conceded
- David Silva emerged as Spain’s top scorer under Lopetegui with 11 goals to his name
Spain are considered firm favourites to win the match against Tunisia but the African side is not an easy nut to crack and will make sure to give La Roja a run for their money. Lopetegui has been credited with stabilizing the Spanish side which is once again a free-flowing, high-tempo team. Impressive 60 goals scored in 19 games is more than enough to suggest the Spaniards will go full throttle in their final preparation match.
Verdict: Over 3.5 goals
Best Odds: 9/4
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