After a disappointing World Cup in Brazil, Italy started the qualification campaign for EURO 2016 on the right foot, winning all three matches and even winning a high-profile friendly against the Netherlands. Italy battle Croatia for the first place in a highly anticipated group H clash that could potentially see a change of the leader.
Unlike Italy, Croatia left the World Cup with their heads held high and a hope for better EURO 2016 qualifications. They have won all their opening matches, destroying Azerbaijan with 6-0 which allowed them to take charge of the group and keep a clean sheet in the process. Italy changed management after the Brazil tournament and Antonio Conte seems to have brought the edge Italy were missing. Their play still looks unconvincing, and Verratti’s injury does not bode well, since they are already missing Pirlo and Montolivo.
De Rossi and Marchisio look poised to start, and while Conte called up Balotelli to the team it is yet unclear whether he’ll get the start over Cerci or Soriano. Croatia come from a friendly match against Argentina, where Kovac rested some of his first team players, so expect Rakitic, Perisic, Mandzukic, Lovren, Modric and Srna to be in the starting eleven.
Last time the two teams met, the match ended in a 1-1 draw, and William Hill gives 6.50 odds for the same result to repeat itself. Italy are the obvious favorites to win, mainly because they play at home, 2.25 to win outright, but nobody would be really surprised if Croatia managed to pull off the upset at 3.50 with William Hill. The draw – 3.00 odds – looks to be one of the most popular betting markets. Immobile and Balotelli are your main choices to score with 2.80 odds, while for Croatia Mandzukic has 3.20 odds to score. We are betting 8 units on both teams to score with 2.15 odds from William Hill.
Italy: Team’s Formation