Euro 2012 Predictions: England vs. Italy Odds and Betting Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 6/21/2012
The last of the Euro 2012 quarterfinals will take place at 2:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 24, in Kiev, Ukraine. England will be the more comfortable team in the stadium as they already have one game there under their belts — their wildly entertaining 3-2 win over Sweden.
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that separates these two teams, and the oddsmakers certainly seem to agree. At Bovada both teams are currently at +175 on the moneyline, with the draw at +210. The total is set lower than the other three quarterfinals at two, and that doesn’t seem to be low enough for bettors — the ‘under’ is solidly favored at -125, with the ‘over’ at even money.
How they got here
England earned their way here by winning Group D — something that they were the second choice to do behind France. They opened with a draw against France. They opened the scoring in that one, but let France tie it up soon after, and there was no scoring in the second half. Their second game — a win against Sweden — was the most entertaining of the tournament, though it was very sloppy. England opened the scoring, fell behind after Sweden scored two, tied it up soon after, and then took the lead for good. Their third game was their most impressive. Against the home team from Ukraine they played impressively sound defense in the first half, and then Wayne Rooney made up for his earlier absences by netting the winner soon after the second half started. Steven Gerrard was particularly impressive — the captain was all over the field and willed his team to a win. Given all the distractions and issues the team had coming into the tournament, it was a better overall performance than most could have expected.
Like England, Italy didn’t lose a game, though they won only once and tied twice. That was good enough for second in Group C behind Spain. They played well enough to tie tournament favorite Spain in the opener, though the lackadaisical play of Spain deserves at least as much credit for the outcome as the performance of Italy. Their second draw — 1-1 against Croatia — has to be incredibly frustrating for the team. They opened up a 1-0 lead and were dominating the game, but Croatia found a way to tie it up late and earn a point they didn’t deserve. It was a very concerning result for the Italians. Their lone win was dominating, but they barely get any credit for it — they beat Ireland 2-0, but the Irish were by far the least impressive team in the tournament. The closer you look at Italy’s performance overall the more concerning it becomes.
England’s biggest asset is that Wayne Rooney has served his suspension and is back in action. He’s by far their best offensive threat, and the team had a clear and significant boost in their third game when he was back in action. They are a much more dangerous team when he is in action, and they play with much more of a swagger.
In a one-game elimination you can do anything if you have great goalkeeping, and Italy certainly has that. Gianluigi Buffon is 34 now and 116 games into his international career, but he’s still among the top goalkeepers in the world, and he has the ability to change a game single-handedly. In a game that isn’t likely to be explosive he has as much potential as anyone to be the singular difference.
England has played surprisingly well so far, but they still have all sorts of potential distractions to deal with. Most notably, they faced a coaching change not long before the tournament, and that could become more of an issue than it has been as pressure intensifies. The team has been far from the most stable and trustworthy over the years, so there is an obvious concern about their ability to maintain their strong play going forward.
Italy’s biggest issue is maintaining its focus throughout a game. The Italians have led all three of their games, but they let Spain score soon after they did, and they let Croatia come back when they shouldn’t have. They do not seem to have the killer instinct that they so clearly had in the 2006 World Cup, and that is going to be costly — if not in this game then in their next one.
Predictions and betting picks
When both teams are even in the moneyline then you have the luxury of just picking the team you like better and going for it. For me that is definitely England. I have concerns about their mindset as I always do with them, but I like their depth and offensive power better than I like Italy’s, and I think they have, surprisingly, looked hungrier and more focused. England on the moneyline is attractive to me.
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