What a day Friday was in France at Euro 2016. It was known that Belgium possessed some injuries heading into their match against Wales, specifically on their back-line – but nobody could have envisioned such attacking dominance from the Welsh of all sides. Usually it’s been Belgium doing that to teams, but Wales sent out yet another reminder that they are most certainly for real. Star player Gareth Bale is playing wonderfully right now, and showed many why he’s considered one of the best in the world. We lost on our Belgium pick, but the bonus selection of goals from both sides and the match total to go over both hit with ease. Up next, the Welsh will be taking on Portugal in the semi-finals which should make for a fascinating match-up.
Onto today’s showdown between a couple of soccer powerhouses in Germany and Italy. Though it was considered to be a down year for the Italians, here they are, once again in the quarter-finals of a major tournament. They were solid throughout the group stage, and turned in a heroic performance to dispose of Spain in the round of 16. That said, the Germans are as good of a team in this tournament. They do a lot of things quite well and the Italian defense will again need to be on full alert. It’s worth pointing out, that Germany have never beaten Italy in a match at a major international tournament. The Germans will be looking to reverse that trend today. It should be a thrilling affair between these well-known soccer nations. Read on below for a game preview and prediction for Germany/Italy.
Germany vs. Italy Betting Odds:
Over 2 (+100)
Under 2 (-120)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Germany vs. Italy Pick:
Expect this to be a very cagey affair between two sides that know each other well, and won’t want to make a crucial error. Perhaps no team in the tournament defends quite like the Italians. Their back three of Bazagli, Bonnucci, and Chiellini is likely the best in the tournament and the trio is quite familiar with one another. Together, with keeper Gigi Buffon, they offer an Italian wall that is nearly impossible to penetrate. That said, they’ll get a firm test today from the speedy and shifty Germans. The way to beat Italy is great off-the-ball movement, and Germany and their blend of talented and skilled attackers should be able to break through. The likes of Thomas Mueller, and Julian Draxler have looked excellent in France, and you get the sense at the moment that nothing can stop the Germans going forward, even Italy.
Many considered this to be a down year for Italy, but they’ve proved the pundits wrong so far. But they still haven’t faced a side the true quality of Germany. Even Spain showed some glaring flaws, while the Germans have yet to. One huge potential loss for the Italians, is that of their key defensive midfielder in Daniele De Rossi. DDR as he is known has been a huge contributor to this program for years now, and plays a key role in the centre of the pitch. Without him, the Italians will struggle to win balls and gain possession.
Look for this match to be dominated by the Germans in every aspect. They’ll control the tempo and possession, but the real issue is if they can strike together a solid final pass to result in a goal. Italy have defended exceptionally well, but without De Rossi, things become much more difficult. While Conte seems to have drawn up the perfect recipes to nullify the attacks of these more skilled teams, Germany is far too good to succumb to that. Look for a very tight game, with Germany finally breaking through late en route to a 1-nil victory.
PICK = Germany (+125)
Bonus Selection #1: Under 2 (-120) in Germany/Italy
For reasons mentioned above, expect this game to be low-scoring despite the firepower. The Italians will let the game come to them as that’s what has been successful for the Azzurri thus far. They are exceptional defenders, and won’t gift-wrap any goals to the talented Germans. Though they are slated to be without De Rossi, their back-line is excellent – tough in the box and hard on clearances. I expect the Italians to hold the Germans for the bulk of the match, before a potential late breakthrough. Even if the Italians do get down, I’m not certain they have the personnel to go back and score on a complete Germany side, with no real weaknesses. If Italy plays their typical Antonio Conte-style, this game shouldn’t see much offense.