Italy vs. Slovakia World Cup Preview
Italy is the favorite in their match against Slovakia and after the defending World Cup champions played to a shocking draw against New Zealand, they may have to win this match to advance to the knockout stage.
Italy vs. Slovakia – Current Match Odds
Bovada has Italy posted at -181 with Slovakia at +435 with a draw at +300 and a goal total of 2.5.
In this Group F match on Thursday afternoon, both teams are still alive to make it into the round of 16. For Italy there are a few scenarios in how they can advance to the playoffs, but the easiest one to understand is, if they win they are in.
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If Slovakia beats Italy and New Zealand does not beat Paraguay in the other Group F match then they are in.
In their last matches both teams played on Sunday with Italy playing to a surprising 1-1 draw with New Zealand and Slovakia losing to Paraguay 2-0.
Italy could have, pretty much, wrapped up a spot in the knockout phase, but drew against New Zealand where they were the major favorites. In the match Italy dominated the Kiwis in terms of time of possession (71% to 29%) and out-shot them 23 to 3, but only had a couple shots on target the whole match. After they tied the score at one apiece the Italians did not look and they could not find the back of the net again even after a few substitutions and a change of formation.
Slovakia needs to win this match and to do that they have to score and offense is not their strength. In their 2-0 loss to Paraguay they held back on defense and looked to score on the counter-attack and they continued to play that way even after Paraguay took a 1-0 lead.
The Slovakians will have to mount some pressure on the Italian defense and score because even if they draw they cannot advance out of group play.
Italy has only scored two goals in two matches and while their defense has been solid they need to come out on the attack in this game. The only two shots that have been on target against the Italians have found the back of the net.
GK Federico Marchetti will be in goal for the Italians since 2006 World Cup hero Gianluigi Buffon is out for the tournament with a back injury.
Slovakia striker Marek Hamsik is key in this match, as he has to set the pace for the offense.
Italy has a solid midfield and they will have to control the time of possession in this match and be more offensive minded and push forward on the pitch.
The Italians still have many world-class players and Slovakia will not be playing their usual defensive style since they need to score. Look for Italy to win this match, as they are simply a better team even though they lack much offensive firepower.
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In the other matches on Thursday Paraguay faces New Zealand in another Group F match and in a couple of E matches Cameroon takes on Holland and Denmark plays Japan. For match up reports on these games, as well as others YOU CAN FIND MATCHUP TRENDS AND STATS.