Euro 2012: David Villa Sidelined for Six Months, Are Spain Still the Favorites?

Kent SommerContributor IIIDecember 15, 2011

David Villa will be sidelined for six months after breaking his tibia. 

A year ago this would have been a huge blow for Barcelona as Villa was a key to Barcelona's offense and success. 

This year has been a different story as Villa had been relegated to a supporting role and was only seeing limited time off the bench. Last week Barcelona beat Real Madrid without Villa and will surely be able to move forward and win without Villa's services.

But the Spanish national team might not be able to say the same. 

Spain has dominated Europe and the rest of the world for the past four years.  Heading into the Euros this summer they were unquestionably the favorites to win it all. 

But even during their recent dominance, everyone knew that Spain's main weakness is their inability to score goals.

In the 2010 World Cup, Spain only scored eight goals, the lowest in World Cup history for a winning country. Villa scored five of those eight goals. 

To say that Villa carried Spain's attack would be an understatement.  They owe much of their success to Villa.

Before teams felt that if they can only score a couple goals, they have a decent chance of beating Spain. Without Villa, one goal might be enough to take down Spain. 

Granted, even without Villa Spain still has a strong squad. Spain's midfield is a world-class lineup that includes Xavi, Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, David Silva and Cesc Fabregas.

They also have a solid defense that includes premier players like Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and arguably the best goalie in the world, Iker Casillas.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 03:  David Villa of Spain celebrates after he scores his side's first goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Paraguay and Spain at Ellis Park Stadium on July 3, 2010 in Johannesburg,
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

So even though one goal might be enough to beat Spain, it is still a difficult task as the dominant defense and possession-crazed midfield don't provide their opponents with many scoring opportunities.

With such strong players, Spain will still be a tough opponent.  But without Villa, unless another striker emerges, Spain cannot be considered the odds-on favorite to win the European Championship this summer.

A few years ago the entire world thought that Fernando Torres would have been the future of Spain's attack.  He has lost all confidence and form while withering away at Chelsea

His teammate at Chelsea, Juan Mata, has emerged as a great playmaker and could very well fill in as an attacking midfielder/striker for Spain. Mata would surely help Spain's attack, but he isn't a pure scorer like Villa.  He will likely provide a couple of goals, but he won't completely fill the Villa void.

Fernando Llorente is another young striker with plenty of promise and hype.  There is hope that he will rise up and carry the scoring burden, but he isn't a proven commodity, at least not yet.

So Spain does have a couple options, but none are as proven or dependent as Villa. 

Even with Villa Spain would have to play nearly flawless football this summer as they are the reigning champions and the target for all other countries.

It would be a difficult task for any country, but without Villa, unless another striker emerges, Spain likely won't be up to the task and will have to give up the throne this summer.


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