WILLIE DUNCAN'S (@Willie_Duncan) cast his expert eye across Tuesday evening's international friendly coupon, sharing his favourite fancies.
Italy v Germany | Tuesday 19:45
With eight World Cup triumphs between them, meetings between these two sides are always worth keeping an eye on and, even though there’s nothing more than pride at stake in Milan on Tuesday night, there is plenty of potential for this to be an explosive encounter.
The Germans have had the better of things against the Azzurri in 2016 thus far, winning 4-1 on home soil in a friendly fixture back in March, while Joachim Low’s side squeaked past Antonio Conte’s team in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Euro 2016.
The Italians, of course, are under new management with Giampiero Ventura replacing Conte after the European Championships and the open, expansive style that the Azzurri have adopted under the 68-year-old manager has certainly been eye-catching.
Indeed, Italy have scored more than two goals in three of their last four fixtures and the Azzurri look set for an almighty scrap with Spain for top spot in World Cup qualifying, with both nations taking 10 points from their first four games.
Uncharacteristically, though, Italy are not watertight at the back; in fact, the Azzurri chalked up their first clean sheet of Ventura’s five-match reign when they thumped Liechtenstein 4-0 in Vaduz on Saturday night.
Germany were tipped in many quarters to go all the way at this summer’s European Championships, but if there was a hangover following the 2-0 defeat against hosts France at the semi-final stage, it must have been a short one. Since their exit from the European Championships,
Germany have W5-D0-L0, scored 18 and conceded nil – fantastic form by any standards and Die Mannschaft will want to wave goodbye to 2016 with a win in Milan.
There have, however, been goals at both ends in all but one of the last seven matches between these two nations and, with both sides looking sharp in the final third, the trend will surely continue in this clash.
Backing Both Teams To Score, therefore, offers outstanding value for punters and it is the 11/12 quote from 188BET that should be snapped up accordingly ahead of this tussle.
Austria v Slovakia | Tuesday 19:45
Marcel Koller’s Austria arrived at the European Championships this summer as the dark horses of a few shrewd observers, but they left France looking rather like the entry that limped home in last place at the Donkey Derby on Blackpool beach.
Unfortunately for Das Team, things have barely got better in qualifying for World Cup 2018 and, with just four points from their opening four games following a 1-0 home defeat against Republic of Ireland on Saturday, Austria have their work cut out just to remain as a credible contender to stay on the road to Russia in Group D.
Jan Kozak’s visitors started slowly enough in Group F, but back-to-back wins against Scotland and Lithuania – scoring seven goals without reply in those two ties – has given the Slovakians their swagger back.
Slovakia have been painfully shot-shy at times this year and, indeed, before slaying the Scots, Kozak’s charges had gone more than 405 minutes without putting the ball in the back of the net.
The visitors, however, have scored two or more goals in five of their last seven away matches (excluding their participation at the European Championships) and Slovakia can get amongst the goals again when they face Austria.
Coral offer 27/10 that Kozak’s men notch more than once in Vienna and, with the hosts looking hapless, that price looks worthy of support ahead of Tuesday’s tie.