Italy - England Betting Preview: Personnel has changed but it should still be tight in Bern

Both coaches have named youthful squads but the Roy Hodgson ethos will remain. Adam Bate expects the Three Lions to continue the policy of defence being the main priority
It’s a rematch. Of sorts. Because the players to emerge with credit from England’s laborious and ultimately futile struggle to nullify Italy at the European Championship will be absent.

Of the back-four that night, only Joleon Lescott – a late call-up himself – is in the squad for Wednesday’s friendly in Bern. And Joe Hart has a back problem.

The strike pairing of Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck that failed to find a breakthrough in that quarter-final are also missing so Roy Hodgson is left to field an experimental line-up.

That means first-time call-ups for the Tottenham duo of Jake Livermore and Steven Caulker as well as a recall for a young buck by the name of Michael Carrick.

With assistant boss Gary Neville already preparing English audiences for the worst by stressing that the result is not significant, this could be a tough ask for Hodgson’s scratch side.

Italy are 6/4 (2.5) favourites with Bet365 to win this one.

Of course, Cesare Prandelli is also building for the future despite a hugely impressive Euro 2012 in which his side went all the way to the final before being outclassed by Spain.

Mario Balotelli misses out due to an eye infection but it is still a youthful forward line with the Manchester City man's replacement Diego Fabbrini the oldest of the four remaining strikers despite having only turned 22 last month.

It’s worth noting that England are capable of significant victories in friendlies, having beaten Spain 1-0 in November and – shoot-outs aside – they are actually unbeaten in six games under Roy Hodgson.

England are 13/8 (2.63) to win the game and the draw is available at 11/5 (3.2) with Bet365.

Hodgson has shown he is capable of drilling the England team defensively and the results have been swift – four clean sheets in his six games in charge.

Even though he is making noises about experimentation, expect Hodgson to demand the same levels of concentration, commitment and discipline here – and that makes the unders market appealing.

While Prandelli may select a more expansive team, the pick of the bets is still to back under 2.5 goals at 8/15 (1.53) with Bet365.

For the value bet, consider a repeat of the goalless draw in Ukraine at 7/1 (8.0), but the better pick might be for England to nick one and go into true defensive mode again.

The 1-0 win for the Three Lions is available at 13/2 (7.5) with Bet365 and that's a great price given Hodgson has won three of his six matches in charge by that scoreline.

Under 2.5 goals at 8/15 (1.53) with Bet365
England to win 1-0 at 13/2 (7.5) with Bet365

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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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