Italy v England – Betting Preview
Italy comes into this new stage of qualification with something to prove.
Italy faces England in Naples and will want to start qualifying with a confidence-boosting win. A draw is also not going to cause the boss Roberto Mancini any lost sleep.
The Italians lost their last friendly game to Australia 2-0 but had won their three games before that. They defeated Albania, Hungry, and this England team all before the Qatar World Cup which of course, they had failed to qualify for.
And due to not making Qatar, there is a strong sense the Italians want to make a statement in the short-term future.
For certain, they will not take any qualification match too casually and with this in mind, the Italians will be well-motivated and switched on against England.
Mancini bemoaned the lack of out-and-out strikers currently available to him, but he will send out his strongest possible side.
The big negative for England was that one of the most in-form attackers in Europe, Marcos Rashford, pulled out of the squad just a few days before the game with Italy.
The United player wasn’t fully appreciated by Southgate in recent seasons, which almost certainly has formed a part of the reason he pulled out of this game just two days before kick-off.
Gareth Southgate didn’t make any big or surprise calls for this international call up barring perhaps Ivan Toney. But his status in the international team is not questioned on footballing ability, just a morale level as Toney has been charged with numerous wrong doings off the field related to betting activity.
On the pitch, Southgate is missing Sterling as well as Rashford. The former is not rated by many England fans but is much admired by the manager, so his withdrawal could be deemed a loss.
Sterling was called up but pulled out of the squad by Monday evening.
With Sterling and Rashford out. Brentford’s star man Toney will almost certainly not only finally debut, but also play significant minutes over the next couple of games for his country.
Toney should make his mark in this international break. As shown below, he is in the top 15% of strikers in the EPL for shots taken, goal contribution, XG Contribution, aerial duels won and dangerous passes.
The third team keeper is now Forester as Pope also pulled out. With three quick drop outs of the England team, one has to have concerns about how motivated this group of players will be.
Looking at the 1×2 market first. The market struggled to have a clear favourite for the game.
Italy is @ 2.80. England is @ 2.40 and the draw is @ 3.00.
Moving onto the Asian handicap betting for this contest. So close is the betting between these two well-matched sides, the Draw no bet (DNB) is offered as a cushion.
So a bet on either Italy -0 @ 2.06 or England -0 @ 1.75 would see the full stake returned should it end as a draw.
Looking at The Under/Over goal betting last of all. The line is set at 2.25, the over is @ 1.97 and the Under is @ 1.78.
This game is likely to be one not fully respected by the players, and something low scoring is probable. 0-0 and 1-0 either way are likely results.