Dave Farrar previews Italy's second Group A fixture against stuttering Switzerland...
“Roberto Mancini’s men have now won their last nine. Most pertinently for us, they have won each of those games by at least two goals, and given that they are at home once again, I think that’s the way to support them here”
Italy v Switzerland
Live on ITV
It was hard not to be extremely impressed by Italy's opening night display against Turkey, easy to understand why they are now as short as 8.27/1 to win the Euros, and it's extremely difficult to argue against them making it two wins out of two against a Swiss side who will surely be overmatched.
The Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic has history at this stadium, having enjoyed a successful spell in charge of Lazio, but he may struggle to enjoy the experience, and indeed the rest of these Euros. After flying here from Baku, he and his team will have to head back to Azerbaijan for their final Group game against Turkey, and it's going to take something very special now for them to get into the last 16.
As I have stated elsewhere, I did think that Switzerland were a little unfortunate against Wales, and I was impressed with the way that Breel Embolo led the line. He will never be a clinical finisher, but he took his goal well and certainly looks the best of an extremely average bunch of forward players.
He has the pace to trouble the Bonucci and Chiellini axis, but rather like Turkey, I'm just not sure that the Swiss will see enough of the ball in the final third to make any kind of impact.
Impressive unbeaten run goes on
Italy's unbeaten record is being more impressive by the game. That's now 28 in a row without defeat, stretching back to September 2018, and Roberto Mancini's men have now won their last nine. Most pertinently for us, they have won each of those games by at least two goals, and given that they are at home once again, I think that's the way to support them here.
In the last few years, I might have expected Switzerland to sit and try and frustrate Italy, but Petkovic has instructed his team to press and try and get on the front foot, and I think we'll see that kind of approach here. Not gung-ho exactly, but certainly with an eye on creating chances.
Potential 10th straight clean sheet
I can see Italy once again controlling the midfield, and then they have enough quality in the final third, for all of their lack of a dominant goalscorer, to hurt the Swiss. Mimmo Berardi was exceptional against Turkey, and Lorenzo Insigne had one of his more impactful games in an Italy shirt.
We can back Italy minus a goal on the Asian Handicap at 6/5, and Berardi as an anytime goalscorer at 4.03/1, and I think that they are both options that we should take. I think that, going forward, against better quality attacking sides, the Italians will become a "Yes" in Both Teams to Score option, but another clean sheet here would be no big surprise.
Italy know a win here will guarantee their qualification for the Round of 16, so will barely make any changes to the starting XI that thrashed Turkey 3-0. Alessandro Florenzi should miss out, replaced by Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who impressed in the second half against the Turks.
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