The highly-anticipated clash between Mexico and Italy in FIFA Confederation Cup this weekend – a warm-up event for the fast approaching 2014 World Cup – is billed as a close betting affair.

Italy enters as the favourite while Mexico is a respectable underdog by all accounts. Will the match fall in line with the soccer betting market?

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Mexico World Cup campaign in jeopardy?

Image previewBefore Mexico can look ahead to its opening clash with Italy in FIFA Confederation Cup, there is the pressing game against Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying that is a must-win for them if they hope to be invited back to Brazil next summer. And Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre made no bones about it: qualifying for 2014 World Cup is a priority over the FIFA Confederation Cup.

June was always going to be a tough month for El Tricolor with three World Cup qualifying matches as well as Confederation Cup. And now that two qualifiers are behind them, the early verdict is in and it’s not very good. It began promisingly with a 1-0 win over Jamaica on June 4 but a scoreless draw against Panama on June 7 has set them back again.

As things currently stand, Mexico sits third in Concacaf zone World Cup standings behind Costa Rica and USA, respectively, and just a point ahead of Panama in fourth. The top trio are tied on seven points but Mexico has already played five games while both Costa Rica and USA have played only four.

All in all, Mexico’s qualifying stretch leaves much to be desired with just one win and four draws. Overall, scoring (or lack thereof) has been one of several key issues in their qualifying campaign and that is hugely concerning. Indeed, Jose Manuel de la Torre’s side have missed many an opportunity and time is running out on them.

That alone puts a lot of pressure on them not just for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying game but also for the Confederation Cup.  Confidence for the competition can’t possibly be high when they are looking doubtful for World Cup and, as such, it seems rather surprising that soccer odds makers tip them within an outside shot against Italy in the opener at +240 betting odds at Bet365. Of course, a defeat against Costa Rica this week could see that market change drastically. The more salient market right now that tells the real story for the Confederation Cup is the outright win market that has Mexico tipped at a rather large +1200 to win outright. Telling isn’t it?

Italy eager to make an impression at Confederation Cup

Italy is flush off a scoreless draw against Czech Republic in the weekend’s round of World Cup qualifiers. Though the draw ended Italy’s four-game winning streak, which includes wins over Malta, Armenia and Denmark, it maintained their undefeated run in Group B that currently is comprised of a 4-2-0 mark and 14 points.

Image previewOverall, Italy’s form has been positive and as such they can look ahead to the Confederation Cup with optimism. Yet in the broad spectrum of the competition, though they are held in theory as the third favourites to win outright, they are priced quite a ways off of the tandem of Brazil and Spain – at a tempting +600 at Bet365. What are we to make of that?

Moreover, where the clash against Mexico is concerned, they are found on the large side of even money, at betting odds of +125 to win. In fact, this is the only match in the first round of group action in Confederation Cup that doesn’t boast a clear, runway favourite on the short side of even money.

Most likely, that has something to do with the head-to-head between these two sides that stands at 1-2-1 spanning four meetings over 40 years. They’ve matched-up well in the past and clearly that is expected to continue. Mexico won the last clash between these two sides 2-1 in a friendly in 2010.

Soccer Betting Verdict: The way the bookies have set the odds on this matchup right now, delicately placing both teams on the large side of even money suggests it could go either way. Yet, it’s obvious Mexico is struggling right now and, frankly, that fact doesn’t inspire much confidence. Italy by far has been the more consistent side. Moreover, they have a score to settle with Mexico methinks. 

Soccer Free Picks: Italy to win at +125 at Bet365