Lithuania are hoping a defensive approach and poor state of the pitch will help them cause an upset against world champions Spain, but La Furia Roja remain the favourites in this tie. Having won all four group games so far, nobody would be surprised if they make it five in a row.
Can Lithuania stop Spain?
Lithuania had a pretty good start to this qualifying campaign, but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean they will continue in the same manner, as witnessed by their previous qualifying campaign. Raimondas Zutauskas’ side shared spoils with Scotland in their opening game before beating Czech Republic away, but they could do nothing to avoid the 3:1 defeat in Spain. The hosts are now under no pressure to get something from this game as Spain are likely to win almost every game in these qualifiers, but they will, nonetheless, try everything to get at least one point. Understanding that they are far from the desired quality to match their more illustrious opponents, the hosts are hoping a poor state of the pitch and very defensive tactics will help them against La Furia Roja, but I do not share the same opinion. Players like Xavi, Iniesta and Villa will find a way to create chances in Lithuania and help their side win this game.
Ramunas Radavicius, Deividas Semberas and Darvydas Sernas are all doubtful, but Marius Stankevicius should be fit to play.
A difficult game against Czech Republic
Spain have continued to impress after winning the 2010 World Cup in style and they have won all four group games in the Euro 2012 qualifiers. La Furia Roja had some problems in the warm-up games, having suffered heavy defeats to Argentina and Portugal, but Vicente Del Bosque’s side continue to play well under pressure, as witnessed by their victory over Czech Republic at the weekend. La Furia Roja came back from a goal down to beat the Czechs on Friday and they now aim to keep the 100% record. They will not have an easy task at a grass-less pitch in Lithuania, but the cheap tricks from the hosts are likely to make Spain players even more determined to win this game. Such a good team can easily adapt to difficult playing conditions, so I have reason to believe they will beat Lithuania regardless of all the problems.
Vincent Del Bosque could make some changes to the starting line-up, with Raul Albiol, David Silva and Fernando Llorente pushing for the starting places.
Lithuania are not even close to matching a side like Spain and I don’t believe their defensive tactics or the poor pitch will have such a big effect on the final outcome. Spain have more than enough quality to win this game, while the difficult playing conditions are likely to make them even more motivated to record a big win over Lithuania.
Our prediction: Spain to win with -1 handicap
Odds: 1.91 (10/11)