The Azzurri are in the final of Euro 2012 and Willie Duncan is backing their influential midfielder to bag Uefa's prestigious individual awardItaly shocked Germany on Thursday night to book their place in Sunday's Euro 2012 final against Spain and, in light of that result, it comes as no great surprise to find that their midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo heads up William Hill's "Player of the Tournament" market.
Pirlo may be in the twilight of his international career but the 33-year-old midfielder has been in inspirational form for Cesare Prandelli's men, and is now chalked up at just 10/11 (1.91) to be named as Uefa's Player of the Tournament.
Pirlo's contribution at Euro 2012 thus far is likely to be remembered for his audacious penalty against England in the quarter-finals, followed up with a dominant midfield display against Germany.
And it would be wrong to overlook his influence as the Azzurri qualified from a potentially tricky group – including a sublime free kick against Croatia and a fine assist for Antonio Di Natale against La Roja.
Sunday's final will see Pirlo pit his wits against Andres Iniesta, who scored the decisive goal for Spain in the World Cup 2010 final, and the Barcelona midfielder, who has enjoyed another fine tournament, can be backed at 7/2 (4.50) with William Hill to pick up Uefa's award.
Xavi Hernandez is chalked up at 8/1 (9.0) with William Hill to be named as Player of the Tournament, but the midfielder has not hit peak form during the tournament and would be an unlikely winner.
Germany's Mesut Ozil remains just 9/1 (10.0) with William Hill in the betting but die Mannschaft's disappointing exit at the hands of Italy will surely end the Real Madrid man's hopes of scooping the prize.
One lively outsider might be Mario Balotelli. The Manchester City striker had made little impact on the tournament until facing Germany, but his superb semi-final double will have caught the attention of the voting panel and, at 10/1 (11.0), could further bolster his hopes of being named as the tournament's top player as well as finishing with the Golden Boot.
However, most of the pundits' praise has been reserved for the seemingly peerless Pirlo, and the Italian midfielder represents outstanding value at 10/11 (1.91) to be named as Uefa's Player of the Tournament.
Andrea Pirlo to be named as Uefa Player of the Tournament at 10/11 (1.91).
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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter
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