Dave Farrar previews the Round of 16 tie at Wembley and predicts a comfortable Italy ride against Austria...
“I have little doubt that Italy will get through to that quarter final, it’s just a question of how, and how we can best profit from their progression”
Italy v Austria
Live on BBC One
Another Italy clean sheet
Both Italy and Austria find themselves in the tough side of what looks to be a ludicrously top heavy Euro 2020 draw, and they meet at Wembley on Saturday evening for the right to face Belgium or Portugal in the Quarter Final.
Italy will start the game as favourites after their masterful Group Stage display. Roberto Mancini's team have been the most consistent performers of the opening fortnight of the tournament and, bad draw or not, they will take some stopping. The Azzurri are now trading at 8.27/1 to win Euro 2020, the realisation that they may well have to beat Belgium and then France to just reach the final causing them to drift, but not alarmingly.
Austria are the outsiders of 16, the draw not helping their chances, and if you believe that Franco Foda's team could pull off a massive surprise, then you can back them at 280.0279/1 to become the 11th different European Champion.
Finding profit at Wembley
I have little doubt that Italy will get through to that quarter final, it's just a question of how, and how we can best profit from their progression. Roberto Mancini's' side are 1.511/2 to win inside 90 minutes, and that's not a price which makes a great deal of appeal.
Austria barely laid a glove on the Netherlands, in the only other game in which Foda's team has come up against top class opposition, and that 2-0 win is something that looks likely to be replicated here. The Italians have now gone 1,055 minutes without conceding, and I don't see Austria causing them a heap of problems.
Marko Arnautovic's absence against the Dutch hampered Austria, no question, but he's a player who won't unduly phase the Italian backline. They face better versions of him every week in Serie A.
Italy had 60 shots in the Group Stages, the best they have managed at a Euro, and this team has attacking potential, but is built on that rock solid defence. They have won all four previous meetings against Austria at major tournaments, and each of those games by a single goal margin. I expect them to keep a clean sheet and get the job done in 90 minutes, by a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline.
We can back Italy/Under 2.5 goals at 3.211/5 in the Match Odds/over/under 2.5 goals market and that makes some appeal. Alternatively, we can back Italy to win to nil at 2.26/5, but with the Italians aware of challenges to come, I think that they will try and get this game won and then see it out calmly.
Azzurri to get the job done early
Mancini's side were level at half time against Turkey, but now that they have found their rhythm, they have been in front at the break in their other two games, and I think that will be the case here. I'll be happy to back them to be leading at Half Time at around 2.26/5.
Austria have made the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time since 1954, and I certainly don't want to belittle them as they have done an exceptional job to get this far, but I suspect that it ends here. Italy have won 10 and drawn 3 of their last 13 against the Austrians, and they look unshakeable.
I've looked for some in running angles here, but can't find any, except to counsel that I wouldn't expect too many late goals. I think that Italy will get this game won, and then move on quickly to the next stages of an extremely tough draw.
EURO 2020 P/L
Staked: 10 pts
Returned: 7.1 pts
P/L: -2.9 pts
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