battle lines have been set. England and Italy are on a collision course in advance of the semifinals. Ladies and gents, this one's going to be good. So, which way are we
leaning with our soccer picks?
Soccer odds makers completely agree as evidenced by the lines which
have been set for this match. Both England and Italy can be backed at +175 at
Bovada to win.
The total here is two goals with sportsbooks expecting a
low-scoring encounter between two strong defensive squads. A lot of the action
is coming in on the UNDER even with the lower number.
The Italians got to the quarterfinals by going unbeaten in
their group. They tied both Spain and Croatia 1-1 and then beat Ireland 2-0 to
emerge as the second-place finishers in Group C.
A heavyweight showdown
They'll come up against an England side that also went
unbeaten in their group, only the Brits were able to finish on top.
After a 1-1 draw with main challengers, France, Roy Hodgson's
team battled past Sweden in an entertaining 3-2 victory before their last group
match against Ukraine. The Ukrainians definitely came to play behind an
energetic fanbase, but England got a goal from none other than Wayne Rooney and
that's all they needed.
Those three points, coupled with France's surprising loss to
Sweden, gave the English the top spot in Group D and helped them avoid Spain in
Playing the Italians isn't going to be a cakewalk by any
stretch of the imagination, however.
And it all starts in the back, where Gianluigi Buffon
continues to be the stalwart everyone has gotten used to seeing. Giorgio
Chiellini has been excellent in defense while Daniele De Rossi has done
fantastic when filling in defensively as well.
Andrea Pirlo has brushed aside criticism that he's aging,
scoring one of the goals of the tournament, and each of Italy's three main
strikers, Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano and Antonio Di Natale, have all
gotten their names on the scoresheet in this competition too.
Yet, if any team matches up well with the Italians, it's this
Who wants it more?
John Terry has formed a nice understanding with fill-in
centerback Joleon Lescott in the heart of the backline while Ashley Cole and
Glen Johnson have been reliable as well.
In the midfield, Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard are working
well together. Parker is doing all of the dirty work, running non-stop and
winning the ball back for the team while Gerrard has been the heart and soul
of the team as captain. Out on the wing, we may see Theo Walcott step into the
starting XI in place of James Milner, who didn't exactly shine bright in the
Now that Rooney's back, the English have an extra weapon to
turn to in the final third. He started alongside United teammate Danny Welbeck
against Ukraine, and we expect to see the same duo up front against Italy.
As you can see, nothing's going to come easy for either
This is a highly interesting meeting between two similar
teams. Both are about as disciplined, especially in the back, as you're going
to find in this competition.
This should be the closest match of the quarterfinals and
there's a great chance we'll see extra-time or even penalties.
However, there's something different about this England
team: expectations aren't nearly as high as they have been in the past and
maybe that's what the English needed all along. They can finally play without pressure.