Spain vs Ireland: Crunch time for Trapottoni's men
It is crunch time for Ireland later as they face Spain at the PGE Arena in Gdansk. After falling to a disappointing 3-1 loss to Croatia in their first game, it is crucial that Ireland get at least a point from tonight’s encounter.
The strike partnership of Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle didn’t click in the loss to Croatia. Trapottoni is naming his side as late as possible to keep Spain thinking, but early rumours suggest that Simon Cox will come in for Kevin Doyle, with a 4-4-2 formation being applied.
Ireland are definitely the underdogs, with current odds seeing them at 10/1 to grab a victory tonight. However, with Spain recording just a draw against the Italians, they could really do with a victory tonight before taking on Croatia in their final group game. This could perhaps leave them vulnerable at times and gives Ireland some sort of hope of grabbing a positive result in front of their strong 20,000 travelling support.
Spain are still unsure on what formation best suits their style of football. In their first game, Vicente Del Bosque controversially opted for a 4-6-0 formation, effectively playing without a striker. They went on to record a 1-1 draw with Italy, a game that many thought they would have won with relative ease.
It seems as if Del Bosque is dumping the 4-6-0 formation and selecting Fernando Torres to play as a lone striker. It seems as if Torres will come in for Cesc Fabregas, who grabbed Spain’s equaliser against Italy. He is supposedly carrying a minor leg injury.
Before Spain and Ireland battle it out, the early game in group C is a clash between Italy and Croatia at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan. After beating Ireland in their first game, Croatia sit top of group C and a win against Italy will confirm their place in the knockout stages.