World Cup 2014 – Italy v England

It’s one of the most anticipated games of the whole tournament but fireworks could be few and far between for England and Italy tonight and the obvious option looks to be a repeat of the draw that we saw in the Euro 2012 quarter final between the two.     The draw was favourite two years ago when the teams met then and two years on it seems to be the result that circumstances once again point towards. England have drawn 41% of their competitive games since the last World Cup and since playing Italy then, and drew nearly half their games in a World Cup group that offered 4 wins against San Marino and Moldova including draws against Ukraine (twice), Montenegro, and Poland – in away draws to Ukraine and Poland they had a combined total of just there shots on target.   Italy have drawn 6 games this year – two of them competitive – and along with England, would not mind having a point after their opener in Manaus. The greater technical ability would appeal to beat held by Prandelli’s side, but they were disappointing infront of goal considering the chances and domination they had during the game.     They come here with more attacking options this time around in the squad, but Mario Balotelli will once again lead the lie on his own and an explosive start may not be in the offing. Andrea Pirlo is expected to be the creative centre and if England double down on him too tightly then expect Marco Veratti to come to the fore but Antonio Candareva instead of Andrea Cassano, Alessandro Cerci or Ciro Immobile feels like a conservative option by Prandelli, who like his opposite number Hodgson, may be waiting for the last 30 minutes when Manaus’s high humidity and heat has taken it’s toll.     England will be in serious trouble if they are moved around off the ball by Italy as happened in Kiev but they could well lie deeper and look to confront Italy inside their own half, and this could be a slow burning encounter if neither side takes the game towards the other. If England were to combat Italy at full pace then we could see them flagging late to the Azzuri’s advantage but they’ll have to show more clinically than they’ve shown in drawing 6 of their last 7. A dreadful looking pitch doesn’t help matters either with their passing game likely to be disrupted and we may not see Italy at their best until later in the tournament.     England come here with a better squad and line-up than 2 years ago, but utilizing it will be a different matter, and while Italy could have the technical advantage that wasn’t enough 2 years ago and these two could easily cancel eachother out. Sportingbet have stuck their neck out on the 0-0 draw at 7’s and that could be the best choice. The draw itself is 2’s, and looks the best of the three match options.     Advice     1 pt 0-0 Draw (7/1 Sportingbet)     1 pt Draw (2/1 general) 

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