Spain's goal-shy strikeforce: Llorente, Negredo & Torres the lowest-scoring centre-forward trio among Euro 2012's big guns

La Roja's three attackers managed just 37 league goals for their respective clubs last term, making them less productive than any of their major rivals for the title this summer
By Javier Diaz

Spain struggled in Seville on Sunday in their final Euro 2012 warm-up game. Even though Vicente del Bosque's men created a host of chances, they were unable to find a way past Jose Antonio Camacho's China resolute defence until the 84th minute, when David Silva struck following some impressive work by Andres Iniesta.

Before that, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Torres had looked wasteful in front of goal, while Fernando Llorente still appears to be feeling the effects of a long, hard campaign with Athletic Bilbao. Without David Villa, Spain's deputies will need to do better.

Torres, Negredo and Llorente will be charged with scoring the goals for Spain in Poland and Ukraine, but the signs are not all good at the moment. La Roja's three centre-forwards managed just 37 league goals for their respective clubs in 2011-12 - less than any of the other big nations competing at the Euros.

Llorente netted 17 goals for Athletic Bilbao in La Liga last term, while Negredo was on target 14 times with Sevilla and Torres managed just six Premier League strikes at Chelsea, giving the trio a meagre return of 37 in total. Here, takes a look at how the strikers from Europe's other top teams fared ahead of the continental competition.


Netherlands are one of the form teams going into this summer's showpiece and the Dutch can count three red-hot strikers among their ranks. Robin van Persie is being linked with Europe's biggest clubs after hitting an impressive 30 league goals at Arsenal last term, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar wasn't far behind with 29 at Schalke. Waiting in the wings will be Twente's precocious Luuk de Jong, who netted 25 times in the Eredivisie in 2011-12. Those three lead this list with a combined total of 84 strikes. And with the likes of Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben in their squad as well, the Dutch look to have an embarrassment of riches in attack.


Portugal will look to one man more than any other, with Cristiano Ronaldo the inspiration for Paulo Bento's side. The Portuguese have been drawn in the toughest section of all as they face Germany, Netherlands and Denmark in Group B. In order to advance to the quarter-finals, Ronaldo is likely to be key and it is thanks to the Real Madrid man (46 league goals in 2011-12) that they are second on this list. Hugo Almeida hit 11 for Besiktas in Turkey, while Helder Postiga bagged nine league goals as Zaragoza avoided the drop in dramatic circumstances.


Germany can call on one of the most in-form target strikers in world football: Mario Gomez. The Bayern Munich man hit over 40 goals in 2011-12, including 26 in the Bundesliga. However, he is likely to start the competition on the bench as coach Joachim Low keeps faith in veteran Miroslav Klose, who managed 13 at Lazio last term. Another alternative is Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski, who grabbed 18 at Koln in 2011-12. Gladbach's Marco Reus also netted 18 in the German top flight, albeit from a deeper role which is why his goals are not included in this total, but he could feature as a striker in Poland and Ukraine.


Wayne Rooney is perhaps England's shining star these days in a team of lesser lights, but the Manchester United forward is suspended for the first two group games. Rooney managed 27 league goals for United in 2011-12 but without him, Roy Hodgson's men may find life difficult. Of their other strikers, Jermain Defoe registered just 11 for Tottenham in the Premier League, while Danny Welbeck netted nine. Andy Carroll bagged only four in 35 appearances.


Italy's man in form last term was once again Antonio Di Natale. The 34-year-old has netted just 10 times in a decade for the Azzurri, but is a legend at Udinese and scored an impressive 23 Serie A goals in 2011-12. He will be aided in Poland and Ukraine by the temperamental Mario Balotelli, who finished with 13 in the Premier League as Manchester City claimed the title, and the squad's third highest-scoring striker, Fabio Borini of Roma, who managed nine for the Stadio Olimpico side. Antonio Cassano, back from a heart ailment, barely featured in 2011-12 but could also play a key role this summer.


Like all of the above teams, France also beat the total of 37 scored by Torres, Negredo and Llorente in 2011-12. Coach Laurent Blanc, though, has only called up two out-and-out strikers: Real Madrid's Karim Benzema and Montpellier's Olivier Giroud. Both scored 21 times apiece in the title triumphs for their teams, while a third, Marseille's Loic Remy, misses the competition through injury. Remy, a Tottenham target, netted 13 goals in Ligue 1 last season.