World Cup Countdown: Italy priced up for Group D domination
We’re now just 24 days away from hosts Brazil’s World Cup 2014 opener against Croatia, with the Selecao priced up at 2/7 for victory and 3/1 to lift the trophy for the sixth time, but the odds traders at Ladbrokes have been busy concocting especially tasty punts as we countdown to the Samba jamboree.
Some of the highlights among our World Cup countdown bets, which can all still be backed at Ladbrokes.com, include England to go out on Sudden Death penalties at 28/1, and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez to both score and receive his marching orders against the Three Lions at 29/1.
Today’s humdinger centres around another Group D challenger, four-time champions Italy, winning all of their mini-league matches to nil at – you’ve guessed it – 24/1.
The Azzurri came so close to achieving this feat when lifting the trophy in 2006, with defender Cristian Zaccardo’s own goal during the 1-1 draw with USA proving to be Italy’s only Group E breach.
They may have become somewhat more cavalier in recent years under coach Cesare Prandelli, with a tally of nine goals against in World Cup 2014 qualifying suggesting they’re no bus parkers, yet England have failed to find the net against Italy in their last three competitive meetings.
Prandelli and opposite number Roy Hodgson were both in situ for the 0-0 draw at the 2012 European Championships, and with the latter’s countrymen unable to boast of a tournament strike against the former’s since Italia 90’s third-place play-off match, the omens look bad for Steven Gerrard and co.
Uruguay’s record in two World Cup clashes with the Azzurri doesn’t make particularly good reading either, as a 0-0 draw in Mexico 44 years ago was followed by a 2-0 win for the hosts in Rome 20 years later.
Prandelli’s side will face England in Manaus before taking on FIFA’s 35th-ranked country Costa Rica – who they’ve never faced in tournament football – in Recife, with the Uruguay clash coming last in Natal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.