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Italy Euro Cup Betting Prediction – Italian Side May Not Top Group, But They Should Be A Factor At Euro 2012

Posted by Todd Shale on 5/9/2012 3:09:59 PM

Italy’s online betting chances are pretty good considering they are moving new players in at the back and have some injury worries up front. But the Azzurri have what it takes to trouble the top teams on the continent, so give them a look for this summer’s edition of the European Championship.

Manager: Cesare Prandelli (since May 2010)
Best Euro Finish: Champions (1968)
Soccer Betting Odds: +300 to win Group C, +1300 to win Euro 2012

Offense

Italy won eight and drew two of their 10 qualification matches, scoring 20 goals along the way, but their attack has been hit by injuries. Antonio Cassino scored four goals in six matches for the Azzurri in 2011, but has been dealing with heart problems and has missed most of the club season for A.C. Milan. Giuseppe Rossi will definitely miss the tournament because of complications from his recovery from knee surgery, and this means a trip to the big stage for Mario Balotelli, who is just as likely to score a hat trick as he is to get a red card….in the same game. Alberto Gilardino could find his way to Poland and the Ukraine to bring some experience and an aerial target if the Italians are down late.

The attack will usually be started by Andrea Pirlo, who is still a classy player even as a man who is turning 33 years old in the middle of May. Riccardo Montolivo is his heir apparent as a deep-lying playmaker, while Daniele De Rossi and Albert Aquilani can get forward as well. Italy doesn’t have much on the wings, but they can hurt you through the middle. 

Defense

Thiago Motta is still available to the Italians, who allowed just two goals in qualification to lead all teams, as a holding midfielder as Pirlo has never been known for his tackling. Motto’s job to pick up the ball, get it to Pirlo and shield the back four. Christian Maggio and Giorgio Chiellini will lead the back line, while Federico Balzaretti will probably take another spot, which leaves one. The Italians have always prided themselves on defense, and their new manager used to be a defender, so it’s obvious that this area will be the key to their soccer betting odds this summer.

But the other key will be between the sticks, where captain Gianluigi Buffon has shown flashes of the talent that made him the best keeper in the world for a solid period of time, and even still, there probably aren’t many keepers that you would want in goal for a big game. His experience at the back has helped a new era of Italian defenders get used to what the manager wants, but also what the county wants as expectations are always high in Italy, no matter what tournament they’re entered in. Buffon will play a massive role in Italy’s fate this summer.

Intangibles

Prandelli’s era began with a loss to the Ivory Coast, but the team has come around and even though they weren’t in a particularly tough qualification group with Estonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Northern Ireland and the Faroe Islands, it was still an impressive performance to come away without a loss. This means the Italians took care of business and never took anything for granted. They’ll need this attitude at Euro 2012 because there are teams with far more talent, but if they stick to Prandelli’s system, the Italians could make some noise.

However, the Azzurri have won the European Championship just once, way back when they hosted in 1968, and while they’ve qualified for the last four editions of the tournament, they have finished higher than eighth just once, a runner-up finish in 2000 when they lost on a goal to co-hosts France. For whatever reason, Italy gets up for the World Cup (which they’ve won four times), but struggle at the Euros.

How It Will Play Out

Soccer betting odds have Italy at +300 to come out of their Group C with defending champion Spain, Croatia and Ireland, and the Italians may be able to sneak out of the group with a win if they can beat Spain, which should be a good game, but the Spanish have too much firepower and will have to make a few mistakes.

But if the Italians can make it out of the group stages, and they should, they can give a lot of teams trouble with their disciplined defending, a powerful attack up the middle and the play of Buffon in goal. However, Balotelli will have to be on his best behavior and stay on the pitch because Italy will need someone to convert chances and as fans of Manchester City can tell you, the 21-year-old can be infuriating. The mercurial striker will play a huge role in Italy’s 2012 Euro Cup betting odds this summer.


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