Euro 2012 betting favourites Spain have been dealt a blow with the news that Carles Puyol is likely to miss the tournament through injury.
The Barcelona defender has been told he requires an operation on his knee after experiencing pain during his side’s 4-0 win over Espanyol in the Catalan derby at the weekend.
Puyol is expected to be ruled out for six weeks, which would make his inclusion in Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Poland and Ukraine seem highly unlikely.
“After tests were conducted it was decided he would have arthroscopic surgery on May 12th,” read a Barcelona statement.
The absence of Puyol – who has been an imperious figure for Spain in their recent dominance of international football – would certainly put a different spin on bwin’s Euro 2012 betting markets.
At present, Spain are 11/4 joint-favourites with Germany to retain the trophy they won in Austria and Switzerland four years ago.
However, with their defensive lynchpin on the treatment table and question marks over the form of Barca team-mate and regular centre-back partner Gerard Pique, that price looks less tempting.
Puyol famously scored the winning goal as Spain beat Germany in the 2010 World Cup semi-final, but perhaps Joachim Low’s men now appear to be the smarter pick for glory this summer.
Punters registering with bwin can claim a free £25 bet and placing this on Germany to win Euro 2012 would return £93.75 if successful.
Puyol, 34, has won 99 caps for Spain since making his debut against Holland in November 2000.
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