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Group C preview: Italy to send Ireland packing

by Sean Goff | June 17, 2012

Giovanni Trapattoni shakes hands with Cesare Prandelli

THE GODFATHERS: Trap with Italy boss Cesare Prandelli in 2011

By Sean Goff

Group C betting preview: Ireland v Italy, Live, Poznan, 7.45pm (ITV1 and RTE2)

The Lowdown

Ireland complete the formalities against Italy knowing that they’ll be home before the postcards but need to salvage some much-needed pride by beating, drawing with or at least avoiding a hammering by Italy. The Italians MUST win and hope that a major coincidence like Spain and Croatia drawing 2-2 doesn’t materialise. What are the odds, huh?

Match Bet

There are reasons, but not many, that Ireland can get something out of the game. Cesare Prandelli’s side are unbeaten in their last 12 competitive matches – winning eight and drawing four. Two 1-1 draws against Spain and Croatia is solid if unspectacular form but the Azzuri gave away the lead in both matches. However, if Ireland have packed their bags mentally after the 4-0 loss to Spain and Trapattoni sticks with the same starting 11, there’s little that can be done to prevent an Italian win.

However, as with our earlier Spain to beat Ireland prediction, 2/7 is not a working man’s price and Italy to win both halves makes more appeal at 15/8 in Paddy Power’s online betting.

A goalscorer bet to look for

Mario Balotelli is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes after injuring his knee in training last Saturday leaving Antonio Cassona and Di Natale to lead the line up front. Andrea Pirlo set-piece specialities bring him into the mix at 9/1 to score first or 11/4 to score at anytime.

Something a bit random

Italy have taken the lead but conceded second-half goals in both their Euro 2012 games so far.

Despite Italy only losing twice to Ireland in their last 11 encounters, the Boys in Green secured a 1-1 away draw and a 2-2 draw at Croke Park with the Italians in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign. They also beat Italy 2-0 in a friendly in Liege. The prices for history repeating itself are 1-1 (17/2), 2-2 (20/1) and 2-0 to Ireland (80/1).

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