Whilst Belgium are currently benefitting from having a golden generation coming into their peak, Italy have struggled to maintain their own production line of young talent in recent years.
Nobody can dispute the talent in Marc Wilmots’ squad, but a number of players haven’t exactly had standout seasons with their club sides (Eden Hazard being the poster boy for underachievement and a lack of commitment) and captain Vincent Kompany has been ruled out through injury.
Italy has their own injury problems, with Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti being ruled out for them.
Italy might not have the aura of old, but they did end Euro 2012 as runners-up when they looked almost equally ill-equipped. Despite their current limitations, they did qualify for France without losing any of their 10 qualifiers and they can still call upon one of the best goalkeepers in the world in captain Gianluigi Buffon. The Juventus goalkeeper is now 38 years old, but is still an automatic choice for Antonio Conte.
Belgium are understandably favourites to win the match in the Belgium v Italy betting odds but, despite looking considerably stronger on a player-for-player basis, only narrowly so. Italy’s reputation still counts for something when it comes to match-pricing and they still have enough about them to dig in and compete with the best free bets of 2016 European Championships.
The most recent encounter between the two teams was as recently as November 2015, with Belgium winning a friendly in Brussels 3-1.
The best place for any Belgium v Italy free bets might be on a low-scoring encounter, with both teams possibly more intent on not losing than winning.