France v Spain latest Euro 2012 odds, news and free bets

France were at the height of their footballing powers when winning the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, although it has been a steady fall from grace since winning those competitions, even if they did reach the 2006 World Cup final before a Zinedine Zidane headbutt threw it all away

The French are now managed by a 1998 playing hero in Laurent Blanc although the jury is still out on whether this is a team that can win Euro 2012, especially after losing 2-0 to Sweden in their final Group D match which suggests to many that Les Bleus are there for the taking.

France are a 4/1 chance (Ladbrokes free bet) to claim victory in ninety minutes against the Spanish and 9/4 (Blue Square) to qualify for a semi-final against either Portugal or Czech Republic, with Blanc certain to reinstate Yohan Cabaye to the midfield.

It has been a goalless tournament for Karim Benzema at the moment despite being among the favourites to clinch the Golden Boot, although the Real Madrid forward still has a chance to make an impact against several of his club team-mates include Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso.

Benzema is an 8/1 chance (BetVictor bookmaker) to score first in this match and he is probably the sort of class striker that is missing from the Spain set-up after David Villa was ruled out of the tournament with injury.

Neither Fernando Torres or Alvaro Negredo fill one with much confidence and it’s a surprise not to see Fernando Llorente get a game in this tournament, although Vicente del Bosque clearly prefers the chance to see lots of playmakers and quick passers in the team.

Spain did just about enough to go through as group winners which ironically gives them a day less recovery time, although the same applies to their opponents and bet365 offer 17/20 that the Spanish cruise through in normal time and 2/5 that they reach the semi-final of Euro 2012.

Torres is the 6/1 favourite to score first, although Andres Iniesta offers better value at 9/1 as the Barcelona midfielder loves to come forward and is often seen dribbling past opponents and into the penalty area.

The French will try to keep things tight and compact against their opponents although a lot depends on whether Alou Diarra and Yohan Cabaye can keep their shape and discipline in the middle of the park, while Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery will have to track back regularly.

Spain have only conceded the one goal in this tournament to date and have kept back-to-back clean sheets which suggests that a Spanish win to nil could yield a profit at 7/4, while a 1-0 triumph is on offer at 5/1.

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