Punters spoilt for choice with Spain in World Cup Golden Boot market
Of the 67 tournament goals scored by Spain in the last eight years, Fernando Torres and David Villa have contributed over half that total (34) between them. Yet, neither striker features on Vicente del Bosque’s latest La Roja roster 100 days before the World Cup in Brazil.
Holders Spain are fourth-favourites at 7/1 – behind hosts Brazil (3/1), Argentina (5/1) and Germany (11/2) – to retain their global crown, despite an embarrassment of attacking riches.
They are odds-on at 4/6 to win and 1/8 to qualify from Group B, which also contains Australia, former colony Chile and beaten 2010 finalists the Netherlands.
Coral rate the round of 16 as Spain’s most likely stage of elimination at 9/4, but that is based on the premise of encountering Brazil then – who comprehensively beat La Roja 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final last summer.
Such an outcome would only result if one nation finished second in their group and the other topped their pool.
Del Bosque’s squad to face Italy – a rerun of the Euro 2012 final – contains just two out-and-out strikers in Brazilian-born Diego Costa and Manchester City frontman Alvaro Negredo.
Other forward options include Barcelona attacker Pedro and former Arsenal playmaker Cesc Fabregas, who has sometimes been deployed in the false number nine role by his country.
Spain are odds-on 8/15 favourites to beat the Azzurri again at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon. Punters can get a 3/1 price for a draw and 5/1 on Italy pulling off an upset. Costa and Negredo are both even-money bets to score, and 4/1 shots respectively to net the opener.
Unlike Torres and Villa, however, neither has much tournament pedigree. Granted, Costa is a newcomer to the international stage and Negredo was backup to the deadly duo at Euro 2012, yet both are 25/1 chances (and the most likely Spaniards in Coral’s market) to be top-scorer at the World Cup.
Even though the goal-burden, during a trophy-laden spell that began at Euro 2008, has fallen on soon-to-be 30-year-old Torres and Villa, Del Bosque warned them both that will count for nothing as he decides who makes the plane to Brazil.
“There are a lot of forwards [Roberto] Soldado, [Fernando] Llorente, Villa, Fernando Torres, players who have been a fixture in the national team but we cannot take everyone,” he said.
Despite winning Golden Boots at the Confederations Cup last summer and Euro 2012, Torres is a 40/1 for another leading marksman prize with Coral at the World Cup. Villa, who is Spain’s record goalscorer and netted the most at Euro 2008 and was joint-top of the charts in South Africa in 2010, is even longer at 50/1.
Big Basque target man Llorente, who has formed a potent partnership with Carlos Tevez at reigning Italian champions and Serie A leaders Juventus this season, and Spurs striker Soldado each have tournament goals to their name for Spain.
It’s more than Negredo has managed from similarly limited opportunities, yet punters can get double his odds or better on this pair. Llorente is also a 50/1 shot to win the World Cup’s Golden Boot, while Soldado is at 66/1.
These prices do of course reflect the reality of the situation. Playing with something to aim for in attack like Llorente is not part of the prevailing ‘tiki taka’ philosophy. Prior to netting the winner against Cardiff City, half of Soldado’s goals in a Tottenham shirt had come from the penalty spot in a difficult debut season in the Premier League.
Punters that fancy winger Pedro to produce at the finals in Brazil can get 50/1. Believe it or not, he was their top-scorer in qualifying with four ahead of Negredo. Barcelona teammate Fabregas is 40/1, meanwhile and Del Bosque may well be tempted to use him as a false number nine against group stage defences.