Today's England v Italy game is clearly the tightest Quarter-Final in the betting, in fact it's one of the tightest betting heats of the whole competition. That supposition from the bookmakers appears spot on as this game could go the distance.
England, despite what looks a weaker squad than they've brought into a tournament for two decades, appear to have found a strong team spirit blending youth and experience. It was an excellent achievement winning Group D and their come-from-behind win against Sweden displayed true grit that has definitely been missing from the England set up in previous tournaments.
Italy have also impressed. They went toe-to-toe with Spain in their opening match and came out with a point and many plaudits. A draw against Croatia and a win over beleaguered Ireland followed as Italy finished second and unbeaten in Group C.
Incredibly it's 32 years since the sides met in a major tournament match (excluding 1990 3rd Place Play-Off) with Italy coming out on top in a Euro 1980 group game.
Now the two sides meet in the Quarter-Finals today and there seems nothing to split them. Today it should pay to go low on all the markets with goals expected to be in short supply. England have scored just once in four of their last five games and Italy are two from six at the same statistic. Under 2.5 Goals looks the obvious place to start but the bookmakers have cottoned on to that one with the best quote at an unappealing 4/9.
Another angle may be No Goalscorer (remember this will cover you if the only goal scored is an own goal) which is 6/1 with three of the big firms. But our standout view is that this game will go all the way and end up in a penalty shoot-out which you can back at 9/2 with Stan James. Two of England's last three tournaments have ended at a penalty shoot out and since 1990 five of the last nine have ended in penalty heartbreak. Italy have a similar tale to tell with five out of their last 10 tournaments reaching a conclusion over in a spot-kick showdown. Those stats are enough for us to get involved with the 9/2 that another shoot-out occurs.
- These sides have exited a competition in a penalty shoot-out in 10 of the last 19 tournaments
- The last time these sides met at a tournament was in the group stages of Euro 1980
- Italy are unbeaten in 13 competitive matches under coach Cesare Prandelli