Italy v England Betting Tip Italy ‘Draw no Bet’ – Sunday 24th June 2012

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Andrea Pirlo (Italy)

Italy v England

Italy booked their place in the quarter finals with a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland. Both their goals were from set-pieces which means that three quarters of their goals in this tournament have come from dead ball situations. As I highlighted at the start of the tournament, the Italians lack a certain amount of creativity from midfield – Andrea Pirlo apart. It’s something they Cesare Prandelli may feel he can get by without but the majority of matches at the top level are usually decided by a piece of brilliance. One man who may be capable of providing that spark is the enigmatic Mario Balotelli. The Manchester City forward came on against Ireland and scored his first goal of the tournament but looked decidedly unhappy during his celebration. It remains to be seen whether his goal will be enough to earn him a starting spot but it’s unlikely his actions would have endeared himself to his fellow players and fans alike.

England ended up topping their group after a narrow 1-0 win over the Ukraine. Wayne Rooney marked his return from suspension with the only goal of the game but it was another scrappy performance from Roy Hodgson’s men. Ukraine had much of the game and passed up several golden opportunities before paying the ultimate price. England also survived a scare when the ball looked to have crossed the line but no goal was awarded. Expectation is beginning to rise amongst the English people and the players seem to be in buoyant mood heading into the knockout stages. Steven Gerrard has been excellent thus far, easily their players of the tournament having set up three of their five goals to date. Despite his goal on Tuesday, Rooney did not look sharp but the 90 minutes will have served him well and he will no doubt be better for his first game back.

Italy have been their usual well organized selves during the group stages. The spine of the team hails from the Juventus league winning side so their entitled to be a well drilled group. I still have my doubts about the offensive part of their game and would be inclined to play Balotelli, despite his attitude, as he is capable of unlocking defences with individual brilliance.

England are likely to play the same team who started against the Ukraine but could adopt slightly different tactics. Rooney played off of Danny Welbeck in that game but I think they may line up with five in midfield to try and stifle the space available to Pirlo. Rooney or Welbeck, could drop in to midfield for the initial part of the game.

There could be a stand-off in the early part of the match as both sides have tended to sit deeper during high pressures games already in this tournament. That could pave the way for a draw but I think there is value in the ‘Draw no Bet’ market. Italy have impressed me more so than England and they are the pick in the selected market.

Italy (Draw no bet) 3pts, 10/11 @ William Hill