Tuesday International Friendly Match – England vs Italy

March 27th 2018 20:00 – Wembley Stadium

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England: WWDDW

Italy: DWLDL

Two teams in two very different places in terms of direction meet at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night as England host Italy. It’s rare for England to start as outright favourites against Italy, especially as their team is hardly one of world-beaters, but that just stresses the dire situation Italy find themselves in.

England produced a functional, organised display in their last match away in Amsterdam against the Netherlands. A Jessie Lingard goal gave Gareth Southgate’s men their first England win against the Dutch in eighth attempts (all friendlies since Euro 96. Although this was certainly the weakest Dutch team they have faced in that time.

Under Southgate, England have a predetermined style of play and there were encouraging signs in this victory against a Holland side who did not qualify for Russia. They dominated possession and were organised if not inspiring. Away wins in international football are not to be under-estimated and the England head coach would have found many more answers than questions.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere will once again miss out so it will be a far from full strength side that line up at Wembley.

Meanwhile, Italy are still looking for direction after failure to qualify for Russia 2018. After a drab defeat against a Messi-less Argentina played out in a half empty Eithad Stadium, the Italian’s currently look a shadow of their former selves.

In the hands of interim head coach Luigi Di Biagio, they seem to have one eye on the future but one still firmly focused on the past. While the 20 year-old duo of Federico Chiesa of Fiorentina and Patrick Cutrone of AC Milan made their debuts for Italy, much of Di Biagio’s line-up consisted of veterans held over from the qualifying campaign.

In a country that has produced some of the best creative players to grace the game, Andrea Pirlo, Roberto Baggio and Alessandro Del Piero to name but three, Italy have recently struggled to create and score goals. Only once have they breached the opposition net in the last four games and that was a solitary strike by Antonio Candreva against Macedonia, so it is clear to see where their weakness lay. A transitional period for the Italian team, and a slow one at that as they search for a full-time replacement in the head coach role.

Prediction: A combination of defensive solidity from England and a definite lack of goal threat can only lead to one conclusion, an England win with less than 2.5 goals in the game.

You can back England to win at Evens and  Under 2.5 Goals at 1/2 with Betfair.





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