England vs Italy preview, betting tips and prediction: Three Lions set for tough Azzurri test at Wembley
England to win 1-0 @ 6/1 with Betfair
England face another traditional footballing powerhouse that will not be joining them in Russia this summer, following up their trip to Holland with a clash against Italy at Wembley. This preview is being written before that game, but neither that nor Italy’s clash with Argentina at the Etihad Stadium on Friday, should have an impact on the outcome of this one. Being at home, England will be confident of a result, but with Italy lacking inspiration in attack, not to mention a permanent coach, it could be a low scoring affair at the home of football.
Gareth Southgate has picked a rather inexperienced, experimental squad, and most of the pre-game attention will be surrounding who will play in goal. The England boss has surprisingly selected four goalkeepers; Joe Hart, Jack Butland, Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford. He had maintained Hart would be his number one, but a lack of form then game time has seriously harmed his chances. More worryingly for Southgate, none of the other options present a very safe alternative. It could be tight here, but England can be confident of snatching a narrow win, perhaps by the odd goal.
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England won their qualifying group with minimal fuss, but while two goalless draws against Brazil and Germany back in November continued their unbeaten run, which has been going since June, they also ended a run of three consecutive wins.
Italy lost 1-0 in Stockholm in their World Cup playoff in November and could only draw 0-0 in the return against Sweden. That loss may have been their worst in recent memory, but other than a 3-0 defeat against Spain, they haven’t suffered that fate in ten games.
Harry Kane is the big miss for England with an ankle injury, while Giorgio Chiellini has been replaced in the Italy squad by West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna.