Torres and Fabregas returns will invigorate Spain
Spain v South Korea, kick-off Thursday 5.00pm
These two World Cup teams come into their match against each other with similar form but contrasting expectations for the tournament proper.
Spain encountered a surprisingly uncooperative Saudi Arabia team in their last match, and needed a 92nd-minute Fernando Llorente goal to secure the 3-2 win. The victory extended their winning streak to ten, since a defeat by USA in the Confederations Cup.
South Korea likewise came in for a shock in their last game, losing 1-0 to Belarus, a result which ended a sequence of four wins on the spin. Huh Jung-Moo’s side had beaten Ecuador, Ivory Coast and Japan without conceding a goal.
For Vincente del Bosque’s team, Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas are back fully fit having not been ready for the Saudi Arabia match, and it seems assured their impact will result in an 11th win on the trot for Spain.
Torres is 7/2 to mark his return with the opening goal but after serious surgery it’s likely that the Liverpool striker will start on the bench, so a bet on David Villa to open the scoring in a one-man attack looks smart. He’s scored four in his last three internationals, with all of them coming in the first half of games. The bookies agree – he’s a short 11/4.
South Korea are wily opponents though, and their record of just two conceded in five games shouldn’t be ignored. That’s why a Draw/Home in the Half-time/Full-time market offers better value, at 7/2, than the straight out Spanish triumph, at 1/4.
Spain’s last five matches have garnished 23 goals so it’s no surprise that in the Over/Under market it’s 2/5 for more than 2.5 goals in the game.
However, none of South Korea’s last three outings have topped this mark and their resilience should not be underestimated. Indeed, Vincente Del Bosque may want to see a tighter defensive display than their one against the Saudis and as such goals at both ends could be limited. Under 2.5 goals is a tempting 7/4 while a Spain 2-0 win is 5/1.