By Sean Goff
Group C Betting preview: Italy v Croatia, Live 7.45 ITV1 and RTE2
How Ireland fare against Spain will have a big bearing on how the sides approach this game. Italy will fancy themselves to get out of the Group now after keeping Spain at bay in the opener.
A draw here, they may be thinking will give us a handy number against a demoralised Ireland if Spain do the business. Croatia won’t fancy having to beat Spain to assure qualification so would be much happier to get the job done now. Six points. No worries.
It might pay to be suspicious of Croatia’s 3-1 win against an average Irish side that played poorly. Italy’s draw with Spain stands up to more scrutiny and the 13/10 for an Italian win. looks fair enough.
They’ll want four points before they play Ireland in the last game knowing that Spain may rest or rotate players against Croatia if they’ve qualified so they’ll want to keep their fate in their own hands.
Correct score stab in the dark
Irish fans know well that Italian managers can be ultra-conservative (apologies to the Rome office) but do get the results matter (apology accepted).
Stabs in the dark count for little at the pay out window by trying to predict exact scores, but you’ll still collect your dosh whether it’s 1-0, 5-4 or 9-8 if you fancy Italy to win by exactly one goal at 13/5.
The Italians will retreat into their shells like a snail with the hump if they get their heads in front. For argument’s sake 2-1 will get you 17/2 for your money with Paddy Power’s online betting.
A Goalscorer bet to look out for
Di Natale (34) replaced the unreliable Balotelli in the drawn game and scored but there is concern that he mightn’t have a full 90 minutes in him. However, the Udinese goal-getter can be relied upon so represents Italy’s best chance of scoring.
Something a bit random
Croatia have not lost to Italy in five attempts since independence in 1991, winning three times and drawing twice. The 5/4 in the draw no bet market might just be your cup of tea, if you drink tea. If you don’t, it’s still worth a punt.
Robbie Fowler says
I thought Italy defended really well against Spain. I don’t know if Croatia played very, very well or Ireland were very, very poor. Italy will have to change their game plan and I fancy Croatia to win it.