Both these sides will be pretty pleased with their opening results at the tournament as Italy held defending champions Spain and Croatia helped themselves to a 3-1 win over a surprisingly generous Republic of Ireland.
The Croats look a decent price to upset the odds with Italy being a tad overestimated at odds as short as 11/10 in places. Slaven Bilic’s side go into this fixture boasting a healthy record over their neighbours – losing just one of their last six meetings, while the Azzuri are without a win in any of their last four outings and also haven’t won any of their last five in major tournaments.
The Italians do deserve plenty of credit for their innovative tactics and formation used against Spain in their opening game but we feel the world champions failed to test Cesere Prandelli’s team in the right areas. Whether the Italian coach will stick with the same system remains to be seen. When the onus is on them to break down weaker opposition they struggle and their dreadful results at the 2010 World Cup is testament to that.
Croatia are by no means perfect. They look rather static in the centre of defence and it’s hard to envisage them keeping a clean sheet. So the obvious wager is for both teams to score at 11/10, available from a host of leading bookmakers.
It’s a bet that landed in all eight second-round group games at Euro 2008, plus the first two such encounters at the time of writing in this competition. It’s also an outcome that has copped in three previous competitive meetings between these two nations.
- Italy haven’t beaten Croatia since 1942.
- Italy had the best defensive record in Euro 2012 qualifying.
- Six of Croatia’s 10 qualifying matches saw over 2.5 goals score