LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Spain are weaker without captain Carles Puyol for the upcoming Euro 2012 tournament which kicks-off on Friday, this is according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
The defending champions will enter the tournament also without star forward and 2008 Golden Boot winner David Villa.
The Barcelona stars will both miss the event because of injuries and Wenger believes it will be a massive blow for Vicente del Bosque’s side.
“They are weaker [than four years ago],” the Frenchman said on Arsenal FC official website (www.arsenal.com). “I believe that compared to four years ago and to two years ago, they have no Carles Puyol.
“Let’s remember the World Cup: he is maybe not the flashiest player, but he turned up with a goal in the semi-final and qualifies you. He absolutely gives you combative aspects to the team.
“Then they are weaker as well because they don’t have David Villa, who is always an important goalscorer.”
He added: “Fernando Torres has less confidence because he does not play as many games at Chelsea than at Liverpool, where he was a tremendous force.
“So you would say in two very important areas they do not look as strong. In midfield they are still the best team in the world by far. But Puyol and the fact their strikers are not at their best could be detrimental to them.”
Wenger still thinks the Spanish World Cup champions will still be dangerous.
The Frenchman said: “They are still the favourites. They have something missing – they had the perfect mix.
“Compared to that the balance could not be as perfect as it was.”
The 2012 Euro tournament begins on Friday, June 8 – and will be televised live on ESPN and its networks, including live streaming on ESPN3.com and WatchESPN.