England came into the European Championship in fine form and produced another impressive performance to demolish neighbours Scotland 6-0. Jodie Taylor was the star of the show with a hat-trick, while Ellen White also extended her hot streak and there were goals for Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan.
Spain cruised through qualifying with a perfect record of eight wins out of eight, and they had few problems in disposing of Portugal with a 2-0 victory in their group opener. Vicky Losada broke the deadlock in Doetinchem with a neat finish, and Amanda Sampedro headed in a second before half-time.
In a tournament which had delivered few goals in the first three days, England looked like title contenders as they brushed aside Scotland on Wednesday with a dynamic display which will have made the other favourites stand up and take notice. Jodie Taylor was at her sparkling best and there was a ruthless professionalism about the way the Lionesses kept putting Scotland under pressure until the very end. Ominously for England’s rivals, coach Mark Sampson declared after the final whistle that his team was still a ‘work in progress’ and would continue to improve.
However, the clash with Spain will be a significant step up in class. Jorge Vilda’s side were fluent in possession against Portugal and could perhaps have won more convincingly, while the fact that they only conceded two goals in qualifying shows their defensive solidity. Spain will certainly fancy their chances against England and can be backed at around 2/1 to notch a second straight win.
One of the problems for Spain will be England’s sheer energy, with coach Sampson insisting that his team is the fittest at Euro 2017. It is therefore worth looking at the price of 9/2 that the game will be level at half-time, with England winning by full-time. Even if it is a tight encounter at the start, it could be that England’s intensity will eventually pay dividends and they will expose tiring Spanish legs in the latter stages.
Sports.net’s top tip:
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.