It has been an entertaining start to Euro 2012 with only two clean sheets in the tournament so far. Adam Bate thinks Italy and Croatia are set up for that trend to continueCroatia take on Italy in Group C knowing a win would seal their qualification to the quarter-finals stage.
Despite possessing some good players, that would be something of a surprise after an unconvincing qualifying campaign in which they finished second to Greece in their group.
But Slaven Bilic’s men made light work of the Republic of Ireland in their opening game with Luka Modric a dominant force throughout and Darijo Srna providing real impetus down the right.
Croatia are 9/4 (3.25) underdogs with Sportingbet to make it two wins from two games.
Italy drew their first game but will surely be content with that result given the off-field stresses and the fact that it was against world and European champions Spain.
Cesare Prandelli set up his team in a 3-5-2 system in that game and is expected to do the same against Croatia.
Italy should make it far harder for Modric & Co to seize control of the midfield and with creativity down the spine of the team it would be no surprise to see them cause Croatia a lot of problems.
Italy are 6/5 (2.2) with Sportingbet to win the game and 11/5 (3.2) for the draw.
Italy’s creativity comes in part from the presence of one of the game’s finest midfielders, Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, operating as an auxiliary defender.
When Pirlo struggled for space against Spain, De Rossi was there to ping long diagonal passes and spring attacks.
He hit three such balls in the opening five minutes against Spain and, with Croatia’s full-backs bombing on, look out for him exploiting the spaces behind.
The problem is his lack of positional sense in defence - he did dive in on occasions to allow Fernando Torres several opportunities. Nikica Jelavic could pounce on them and he’s 7/1 (8.0) to score first.
But the key point is that this is not a typical Italy team. Expect chances at both ends and for that reason the pick of the bets is to back both teams to score at Evens (2.0) with Sportingbet. That's happened in 10 of the 12 matches so far at Euro 2012.
For the value bet, consider backing Italy’s goalscorer from the first game Antonio Di Natale.
The Udinese forward is a savvy operator and well used to playing in a similar system to this at club level.
He will benefit from working with a player of Pirlo’s vision and can be backed to score at any time in this one at an industry-best 16/5 (4.2) with Sportingbet.
|Both teams to score at Evens (2.00) with Sportingbet
||Antonio Di Natale anytime goalscorer at 16/5 (4.20) with Sportingbet
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on
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