Following a disappointing 1-1 day yesterday at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, we will be back on Tuesday eagerly anticipating a sweep with our bets. Before we do delve into today’s round of 16 action, let’s quickly recap what occurred yesterday.
The tournament favourite Americans struggled and limped through their match with Spain. Full marks to the Spanish who pushed the skilled USWNT throughout, but a couple of aggressive mistakes sealed their fate. It did show many though that the Americans are beatable if you can slow them down. Easier said than done! Up next is a crucial showdown with France – arguably the two best sides in the competition.
In the late match, Canada unravelled in the second half and once again their defensive style proved to be their downfall. Despite a wealth of individual talent on paper, it failed to mesh when they needed a late goal. And though they controlled most of the match, much of their possession failed to translate into meaningful chances. A missed penalty on top of all that wraps up yet another disappointing tournament for Canada. Sweden will see Germany in the quarters.
Our first match out of the gate today features two surprising round of 16 participants. I was quite skeptical on both Italy and China’s chances at France 2019 but both have already exceeded expectations through the group stage. The Italians somehow topped a very tough group featuring Brazil and Australia, both of which are already heading home. Italy lacks depth within their squad – only using 15 players so far, but their starting eleven have worked so well together.
For China, they clawed their way into this round as one of the top 3rd place teams, drawing Spain 0-0 in their last outing. This showed they can defend at will and they only conceded one goal in all three matches. This is their mantra and will again be their key to success against a skilled Italian side with great attacking talent. Can the Great Wall of China’s defense again withstand another Italian onslaught? Read on below the odds for a match preview and betting prediction.
Italy vs. China Betting Odds:
Over 2 (-112)
Under 2 (-108)
Italy to Advance (-185)
China to Advance (+155)
Italy vs. China Pick:
This match will ultimately come down to the skill and ability of the Italian offense vs. whether or not the Chinese can withstand and absorb pressure for a full 90 minutes. China is likely entering this contest totally willing to play for penalties, but as Italy showed in the group stage they might just be too talented to hold off.
Led by Barbara Bonansea up front, the Italian attack is fast, skilled, and elusive. They scored 7 goals in three group matches, and will be looking for their first trip back to the quarters since 1991. Cristiana Girelli and Aurora Galli will also be counted upon to apply pressure to the sturdy Chinese defense.
One area that should also be considered is that the Italian success might not be all that surprising when you consider how well all of these girls know one another. The vast majority of them play on just a few club teams and have featured together over the past ten years quite prominently. They’ve seen teams play tough defense against their attack before and find ways to break through. Look for the Italians to once again handle this challenge.
For the Chinese, this could force them into playing a game they are unfamiliar with. They want to be disciplined, organized, and super defensive. If and when Italy does break through with an early goal, China will really need to open things up and push forward to try and find a goal themselves. Though they have some talent up front such as Wang Shanshan and Yang Li, neither have been all that dangerous at France 2019.
Expect Italy to dominate the ball and possession, and as we’ve seen in this tournament, usually that aggressive approach should and will win out. Italy will find the net early in the second half and break a deadlock, and then hang on to win a narrow match. Something along the lines of 1-0 to Le Azzurre seems fitting.