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Old June 20, 2010, 11:09 PM
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al-Sagar al-Sagar is offline
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Default Spain v Honduras

Spain aiming to bounce back

Having been upset 1-0 by Switzerland in their opener, favourites Spain face a must-win game against the minnows of Honduras, knowing that another shock defeat effectively ends their hopes of progressing.

The Spanish boast some of the world's best players, but their team unit failed to fire against the Swiss and there have been questions raised over the morale of the squad. WAGs, tactics and tiredness have all been blamed for Spain's demise, but they will have to dig deep to bounce back, and quickly, if they are to make an impact on the tournament.

Standing in their way are the lowly Hondurans, who defended stoically but still lost to Chile 1-0, and if they were to pull off a draw, it would represent the greatest moment in their footballing history. Led by Tottenham's Wilson Palacios, there is a lack of quality through the side, but there is no substitute for team spirit and, with Spain rattled, anything can happen.

Spain player to watch: David Silva: He did not have an impact on the side against Switzerland and was replaced by Jesus Navas, but his quality is unquestioned and he should have the confidence to bounce back against Honduras. A tricky winger with pace and skill on the ball, he should command respect on the right side of midfield.

Honduras player to watch: Noel Valladares.
If Honduras are to hold off the Spanish attacks, then their last line of defence, the goalkeeper, will have to be at his best. Pulling off the save of the tournament so far against Chile, his reflexes and agility will be tested to the limit and if he can deny the likes of David Villa and Fernando Torres, then he will have earned his crust.

Key Battle: Xavi v Wilson Palacios:
The best playmaker in world football was kept quiet against the Swiss, but has the skill and experience to make an impact on any game, at any time. His passing range is unmatched and Palacios will have to marshal him carefully if Honduras are to avoid conceding a goal. Xavi's awareness of what is going on around him gives him the vision to pick out a killer pass, but Palacios will match him for stamina and has the power and strength to assert his will on any opponent.

Trivia: Honduras are the only Central American football team to eliminate Brazil in a tournament (Copa America 2001 in the quarter-finals), so they are used to causing upsets.

Stats: Spain's defeat against Switzerland was the first time that they have lost with Andres Iniesta in the starting line-up.

Odds: Spain (1.12), Honduras (23.00), the draw (9.00) are all on offer at Bet365, but Fernando Torres to score three or more comes in at 23.00.

Prediction: Surely it can't happen again? Spain have the power to overcome their opponents and it could be a high scoring game.
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