Euro 2012 England v. Italy
England will square off against Italy in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012 on Sunday 24th June. It is expected to be a very tight match between two of the proudest football sides in all of Europe. The English have not won a major championship since 1966 and their fans are desperate for the taste of success once again. The Italians are no strangers to the later stages of high level international play and are always tough to defeat. This should be an epic clash that goes right down the wire, and it would not be a surprise if the result is not decided in the first ninety minutes.
England were the winners of Group D during the group stage of play. After opening the tournament with a draw against the French, they won their next two games against Sweden and the Ukraine, and come into the quarterfinals with a lot of momentum.
The English will be led by forward Wayne Rooney, who was forced to miss the first two matches of the tournament due to a suspension he picked up during qualifying. But Rooney returned for England’s final match of the group stage and scored the only goal of the match in a controversial 1-0 defeat of Ukraine. So far, the English have showed one of the stronger offensive attacks in the tournament, but many have felt their defence is a bit suspect. This English team may not play the prettiest style of football, but they have impressed people with their gritty determination, and willingness to sacrifice their body for the betterment of the team.
The Italians advanced by drawing in their first two games against Spain and Croatia, before defeating Ireland in their final group stage match to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals.
For the Italians, their team is epitomised by the beautiful, fluid play of midfielder Andrea Pirlo. They play the game with a grace and fluidity that is difficult for other sides to match. The Italians are also known for a stingy, and stifling defence, but were dealt a blow when their best defensive back Giorgio Chiellini was ruled out for the quarterfinal clash due to a thigh injury he suffered in Italy’s final group stage game.
Given the high-scoring of the English and the injury to Chiellini, it seems as though there is potential for quite a few goals to be scored, even in the traditionally low-scoring knockout stages. Wayne Rooney is the most likely goal scorer for the English, while forward Antonio Di Natale and Mario Balotelli are the most likely goal scorers for the Italians.
With the high stakes of the quarterfinals of the Euro tournament, also comes high stakes for those that wish to bet on the game. There are any number of ways for bettors to get a piece of the action, and any number of scenarios within the game with which to get free bets on.
Most major betting websites have the two teams at about equal odds to win. bet365 gives each team odds of 9/5 to win the game outright. Other sites only differ by the slightest of margins. The odds of a draw after ninety minutes are roughly 2/1. Those odds seem unlikely to deviate too much as so far, the action has been almost equally spread between the English and the Italians. Most are expecting a very tight game, and many bettors are taking the draw line.
For fans of the English, PaddyPower seems to be offering the best odds on taking the English to win outright at 15/8. For those that believe the Azzurri will triumph, Boylesports is offering 15/8 on an Italian win. Skybet has the best draw odds at 21/10.
Fans that don’t want to risk the possibility of the game going into extra time and costing them their free bet can also bet on which team will advance. Fans that believe the English will advance in extra time will get the best odds at Ladbrokes, who have the English at 10/11 to win. Betfair is offering the best odds on the Italians to advance at 97/100.
Online bookmakers are also offering a tremendous amount of special deals and free bets for the quarterfinal match between England and Italy. If the match goes into a shootout, PaddyPower will refund any bets made on the first/last goalscorer or the correct final score. At Boylesports, they are also so me insurance in case of a shootout, by refunding the bet on a team picked to win the tournament if they are knocked out in a shootout. At Betfred, if you bet on a player to score the game’s first goal, and he does, you have the opportunity to double your winnings if that players scores another goal, and triple your winnings if that player scorers a hat trick. Betfair also has numerous bonuses they are giving out for players willing to bet on this game.