Torres likely start against Croatia
Cesc Fabregas may be the top tipper of Euro 2012 results in Spain's squad but that doesn't guarantee him a place in the starting line-up in the deficing group game against Croatia on Monday.
Instead, Fernando Torres should get the nod again as coach Vicente del Bosque will not want to take chances and make the world and European champion win the game to finish top of the group.
The Chelsea forward Torres was a starter and two-goal scorer in the 4-0 victory over Ireland. Barcelona's Fabregas also has two goals, from the opening 1-1 draw against Italy and the final goal against Ireland.
But Spain created more danger with Torres in the penalty area than against Italy, where the midfielder Fabregas was pushed forward in a striker-less line-up.
"I brought on Torres so that he does what he did," del Bosque said drily after Torres had delivered against Ireland. "He is another alternative. He creates space with his speed."
Torres remained diplomatic, saying: "I am happy to have played and scored two goals. It was very good to play with a No 9 (forward), just as things went well against Italy without it."
Now come Croatia, who will be better organised than Ireland and are locked on four points with Spain top the group, ahead of Italy (two) and the eliminated Irish (zero).
There are plenty of scenarios which two teams could make the quarterfinals, including a 2-2 draw between Spain and Croatia which would eliminate Italy, regardless of how big they win against Ireland.
Conspiracy theories were swiftly raised as Italy had gone out at Euro 2004 in a similar scenario, but the Italian camp said they expected Spain to go for a win. Spain and Croatia also swiftly dismissed any idea of a pact against the Azzurri.
"We want to win and finish first with seven points," said defender Raul Albiol, naming the speculation "dumb" and "ridiculous."
Striker Alvaro Negredo said he predicted a 2-0 victory in the Spanish squad's tip which was conducted ahead of the tournament. Fabregas' tip was not revealed, with Albiol only saying he was leading ahead of David Silva.
Spain will not underestimate Croatia, who are led by midfield ace Luka Modric and will probably also have to win in order to stay alive.
"We watched the two games they played and they fully deserve the four points. They will make it very difficult for us," Albiol warned.