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England v Italy: Experience unlikely to hold the key

| 13.08.2012

England are a surprising 6/4 to avenge their Euros penalty heartache with a win over Italy in Bern.

Roy Hodgson has selected an inexperienced squad to face the Euro 2012 runners-up with the likes of Jack Butland, Ryan Bertrand, and Jake Livermore, amongst others all in line to pick up their first caps, as England look to build on a record of one win in 35 years against Italy.

The Azzurri have also adopted an experimental approach as they gear up for their World Cup qualifying campaign.

There are nine uncapped Italians in Cesare Prandelli’s squad which could explain England’s favouritism, in spite of the Three Lions being wholly outclassed by Wednesday’s opponents the last time they took to the field.

As well as a host of new caps being handed out, this game will be England’s first as the world’s official third best footballing nation.

As unwarranted as this sounds – and it, undoubtedly, is unwarranted – England are unbeaten over 90 minutes in their most recent meetings with every fellow top 10 nation, aside from Holland and Germany.

England’s much changed squad from that which went to Poland and Ukraine in the summer still contains Ashley Young and, prior to his disappointing Euros, the Manchester United winger has been in fine scoring form for his country.

The former Aston Villa star netted four times in the seven games leading up to Euro 2012 and he’s priced at 9/1 to open the scoring in Bern.

If Young does get England off the mark, punters shouldn’t expect many more goals to follow – a mere three of the past 12 meetings between these two nations have yielded over 2.5 goals.

Italy’s last two games have crossed that mark but only two of the 12 games that preceded them treated the spectators to three goals or more, akin to two of England’s last nine.

Odds of 1/2 indicate another low scoring affair is on the cards yet again.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



James Middleton