Italy v England
The Stadio Diego Maradona in Naples is the venue for this crunch Euro 2024 qualifying match between Italy and England. This group is no gimme with Ukraine and North Macedonia also added into the mixer. Italy failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, so will be desperate to make sure they don’t slip up here. England have reached at least the quarter finals in all of the last three major tournaments and favourites to top the standings in this section.
Italy have some problems in attack where the likes of Ciro Immobile and Federico Chiesa are both injured. Manager Roberto Mancini has gone with the rather interesting selection of Mateo Retegui, who is playing in South America on loan from Boca Juniors. Young Leeds star Willy Gnonto is also in the squad and could feature in one of the attacking positions. Italy should line up in a 3-5-2 formation although their main left wing back Federico Dimarco is another casualty. Team news certainly suggests that Italy might lack goals. Neither team will want to lose this game so it could be tight and cagey. Taking under 2.5 goals actually makes for some appeal at 1.65.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions will likely match Italy’s system and operate in a 3-4-3. Luke Shaw and Reece James should play in the wing back roles, whilst Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish are the favourites to bookmark Harry Kane upfront. England have a ridiculously good record in European Championship qualifying and have won 17 of their last 18 matches in this competition. They are also unbeaten in over 30 World Cup qualifying fixtures. England have been a total machine qualifying for major tournaments in the last decade. Based on these stats then England draw double chance @1.40 makes a lot of sense.
One man who comes into the match in great form is Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka. He netted twice and also assisted a goal in their recent 4-1 win over Crystal Palace. Since the World Cup he has scored 8 goals and is clearly a man with a lot of confidence. He averages roughly 2.50 shots per game for the Gunners and close to one shot on target in each fixture. At the World Cup in Qatar, 5 of the 7 shots he attempted were on target and he can be backed at a decent 1.73 just to fire one or more SOT in this game. This looks like a juicy price for one of England’s main players who may even get on the scoresheet here in Naples.
The referee in charge of this game is Serbian Srdjan Jovanovic. He didn’t officiate at the World Cup in Qatar but has overseen several matches in UEFA competitions this season. This particular campaign he averages exactly 4 cards per game both domestically and in Europe. Those statistics immediately make backing over 3.5 cards @1.80 a bet to consider. This is a high stakes fixture which neither team will want to lose. We are early in the qualifying campaign so card accumulations leading to suspensions are not on anyone’s mind right now. The players won’t shy away from getting stuck in or making some cynical and tactical fouls if needed.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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