England U21 V Italy U21
Wednesday 24th June. 7:45PM. BT Sport 1
The Euro U21 Championships have been a roller coaster ride for Gareth Southgate’s men but Jesse Lingard’s late winner against Sweden means that England’s destiny is back in their own hands as they head into the final group game against Italy.
England will now be expected to qualify and even a draw should see them progress, where they will meet either Denmark or Germany. Meanwhile, Italy must win to have any chance of reaching the last four and will be desperate to put in a good performance.
It should be a cracker.
Young Lions Set To Roar
England had to be patient against Sweden on Sunday but Southgate’s side will be extremely confident heading into the last Group B fixture. The Young Lions have looked defensively sound so far in the Czech Republic and, with a sprinkle of magic in the final third, there is no reason to think they can’t advance here.
Creating chances has been England’s main problem and Italy will look to frustrate the Young Lions. However, the likes of Harry Kane and Danny Ings boast more than enough quality to convert any chances that come their way.
Meanwhile, the talented midfield will look to stamp their authority on proceedings and the Young Lions must feel that this is an area of the pitch where they can outplay their opponents. If they do, then England should get the result they desire.
It won’t be easy but the confidence from that late winner against Sweden should boost England’s momentum. The impetus is with the Lions to win; let’s hope they do.
Italy Clinging On To Euro Dream
It looks pretty bleak for Luigi Di Biagio’s men, who will still be kicking themselves after surrendering a 1-0 and one man advantage to lose their opener against Sweden. However, it’s not all over for the Italians and they could yet sneak through to last four despite entering Wednesday’s clash bottom of Group B.
The foundations of that success will have to be their stereotypically tight defence. If they can keep England at bay then they’ve got a chance, especially if they can get the ball to Palermo’s Andrea Belotti on a regular basis.
There isn’t much pressure on the underdogs, who weren’t really expected to qualify out of this group anyway. However, this could work to their advantage and a strong start could really throw a spanner into the works as Group B approaches its climax.
Italy did beat England in the 2013 tournament and will hope to channel that energy again here. The odds are against them, but you’d rule out the Azzurri at your peril.
England U21 V Italy U21 Betting Tips
England enter their final group game as slight favourites to win and are priced 7/5 to win with Bet365. However, with Italy only available at 19/10 there is a strong feeling that it won’t be easy. The draw can be backed at 9/5.
Judging by previous fixtures in Group B, Wednesday’s showdown is set to be a very tight affair early on and might require a piece of sublime skill to break the deadlock. You have to concede that England have more players capable of producing those goods.
We’re still uncertain about Italy’s attacking strength, whilst England’s defence does look fairly decent. It probably won’t be a rout but we do predict a hard fought win for Southgate’s side, which will be built upon a solid display at the back.
Spurs star Kane has been quite disappointing in the Czech Republic so far, looking rather isolated at times. However, this could be the game where he underlines his worth to the side and we’re backing him to bag the opening goal in Olomouc.
Kane already has positive memories of facing Italian national sides after making his full senior debut in Turin back in March. At 5/1, we’re backing him to double that joy with a tournament goal for the Under 21s.