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Italy vs New Zealand – Italians prepare for a Sunday stroll

| 19.06.2010

Italy, currently 16/1 to win the World Cup, face New Zealand (2000/1) in Nelspruit on Sunday at 3pm, firm in the belief they’ll be taking all three points.

In a friendly before last year’s Confederations Cup, New Zealand put three past the Italians, while the Italians managed four at the other end to avoid utter humilation. You can get 5/1 on more than 4.5 goals in this one, although Italy’s forward line disappointed in their opener against Paraguay.

Alberto Gilardino, fancied by many to win the Golden Shoe, failed to shine, and manager Lippi may be tempted to go with Pazzini and Serie A top scorer Di Natale instead. Gilardino is still favourite to open the scoring at 3/1, Di Natale 4/1.

Rory Fallon and Chris Killen, who scored two against the Italians in the 4-3 defeat, are the top New Zealanders to score first at 18/1.

The world’s most expensive goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will definitely miss the game with a herniated disc, and may well be out for the tournament. Marchetti of Cagliari, with just five caps, will probably start in goal.

For those expecting an avalanche of Italian goals, however, that friendly with New Zealand was the only time Italy have scored four goals since 2006, and they haven’t scored five or more since a World Cup qualifier against Malta in 1993.

New Zealand, after waiting for forty years for their first World Cup point, might feel it’s a little premature to expect another just five days later, especially with a defence leaky enough to concede goals to Vanuatu and New Caledonia in qualifying. They are 11/1 come out with a scoreless draw, and 12/1 to draw 1-1.

Amazing stat alert: Italy are the only team at the World Cup not to have won a single game this year. Can New Zealand keep the streak going? They are 6/1 to draw, and 14/1 to win.



Ed Needham