Italy v Republic of Ireland Betting: Open encounter as Conte shuffles his pack

Rido Alamsah
The coach is set to rest some key players after securing top spot and with the Boys in Green battling for a place in the last 16, our tipster is backing goals to come at both ends

Italy and Republic of Ireland go head-to-head at Euro 2016 as Group E reaches its conclusion. Antonio Conte’s men are already assured of top spot in the section – and, of course, a place in the last 16 of the competition - having won both of their opening group games against Belgium and Sweden respectively.

Martin O’Neill’s men must attempt to bounce back from a damaging defeat against the Red Devils at the weekend, with three points from this fixture offering the only realistic route to the knockout stages of the competition for the Boys in Green.

The Azzurri are Betway's 11/8 (2.38) favourites to pick up a third successive victory at these championships, while the odds compilers offer 9/4 (3.25) that Wednesday’s match ends in stalemate.

Ireland can be backed at 21/10 (3.10) with Betway to claim the vital victory that they need – and that price could well prove popular with punters given that Conte has already confirmed that the Azzurri will rest a number of key players for this clash, with Italy’s continued participation in the competition in mind.

Italy’s trusted back four comprising of Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in front of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon – with a combined age of 133 – must be amongst the primary contenders to be awarded an evening off as Conte’s charges prepare for the knockout stages.

Should the Italian boss decide to break up his disciplined defensive unit, that would represent a significant boost to Irish hopes of a famous victory, for the Azzurri chalked up a fourth consecutive clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Sweden.

Remarkably, Italy have never scored more than two goals in their previous 35 appearances at the European Championships, while Ireland have notched just four goals in eight matches in this competition and, as such, another low-scoring encounter looks likely here. Betway offer just 8/15 (1.53) that fewer than three goals are scored in this meeting between the two nations, while the 8/11 (1.73) quote offered up by the odds compilers for either team to fail to find the net could well prove popular with punters.

The Azzurri have won to nil in each of their last four matches and Betway go 5/2 (3.50) that the trend continues against the Boys in Green, while Martin O’Neill’s men can be backed at 7/2 (4.50) to win without conceding – as they did against world champions Germany in Dublin in qualification for this tournament.

Ireland have found the net in all but one of their last 13 matches and, in desperate need of victory, O’Neill’s men are capable of finding the net against Italy – especially if the Azzurri shuffle their pack at the back. Conte, though, is unbeaten in 12 matches as manager of his country and the 46-year-old boss will be determined to preserve that proud record here.

Punters, therefore, are advised to back both teams to score at Betway’s appealing even money (2.0) quote ahead of Wednesday’s crunch clash. Squad rotation can often disrupt a team's rhythm and this could lead to a more open encounter than would usually be expected.

Both teams to score at even money (2.0) for a 2pt stake with Betway