TWO of Europe’s big guns meet on Tuesday. But who comes out on top Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79)?
Italy v England | Tuesday 19:45 | ITV1
Italy and England meet again on Tuesday night just nine months since their clash in the World Cup in Brazil. The Italians won 2-1 that night but it was a poor tournament for both sides as they fell together at the group stage hurdle.
More respectable has been their qualifying programme for the 2016 European Championships. While the likes of Germany, Holland and Spain have all lost during the qualifiers, Italy and England remain unbeaten.
But while England have strolled to five wins out of five, the Italians have dropped points against Croatia and Bulgaria. The latter game came on Saturday night when they were behind for large parts in Sofia before an 84th minute equaliser from Sampdoria’s Eder.
With dissenting voices around Eder’s inclusion and coach Antonio Conte reportedly receiving death threats from Juventus fans after Claudio Marchisio ruptured knee ligaments preparing for the game in Bulgaria, it’s fair to say England HQ is more of a happy camp at present.
Harry Kane’s 79 second goal on Friday night has put a warm glow over what was already a solid 4-0 win over Lithuania and England remain one of only two sides to have accrued 100% points in Euro 2016 qualifying.
I’d side with England here if it wasn’t for their cramped price. I thought the days of them being too short in the betting might be over but clearly no. 12/5 best price in Turin? There’s just not enough flesh in those odds to get excited about sadly.
Italy have been mixing and matching with the European powerhouses in their recent friendlies, with varying results. A win over Holland last September was the highlight, but in their last seven friendlies (since November 2013) they’ve drawn four of the games and failed to get past Luxembourg, Nigeria and Republic Of Ireland.
You sense improvement from England when it comes to friendlies. Since their double header loss to Chile and Germany in November 2013, they’re unbeaten in six friendlies. To be fair, the sides they’ve faced haven’t been top-class but they’ve been deserving victories.
Bet365 seem to have gone out on a limb to take on Italy, as they’ve priced them at 29/20 to win in Turin. That looks too big, and it’s more appealing than the 12/5 on offer for the visitors, but I’ll swerve it.
It’s Both Teams To Score for me at odds-against 21/20 with Ladbrokes. Italy, for all their faults, have scored in 15 of their last 17 matches (excluding World Cup Finals) and haven’t drew a blank at home for three and a half years. England seem buoyant at the moment, and do tend to raise their game against better opposition.
I’ll also have a small stake on the 1-1 draw between the sides at 6/1 with Betway.
Italy v England – Both Teams To Score (21/20 Ladbrokes)
Italy v England – 1-1 Correct Score (6/1 Betway)
Betfred refund all Correct Score bets on a live TV game if the match ends 1-1.