Italy (13-0-0, 11-1-1 ATS) are searching for a record-breaking 31st match without a loss across competitions, thereby ensuring their progression into the Round of 16, when they face +748 underdogs Austria in a Round of 16 fixture in London on Saturday.
Sportsbook Odds Analysis
There has been a fair bit of odds movement for this match after Sportsbook. Nothing substantial, though. The odds for Italy to continue their winning streak at Euro 2020 have shortened, moving from -194 at Sportsbook to -209. The draw’s price opened at +316 and is now +332, while the odds for an Austria win have also lengthened to +748 after beginning at +660.
Italy News & Notes
The Italians have been simply unstoppable in recent international soccer. In fact, they have remained unbeaten in their last 30 matches in the international arena, Italy’s joint longest run. The last time this happened was between 1935 and 1939 under Vittorio Pozzo.
Of those 30 results, 25 have been wins. Of those 25, three have come at Euro 2020. It didn’t look like Italy would be breached at any point in the group stage as they got past Turkey, Switzerland and Wales with enviable ease. Their stellar run of international form is likely to continue in the Round of 16 against an Austria team that just doesn’t match up well on paper, particularly in the creativity department.
“We have watched some of Austria’s matches. We haven’t discussed any details yet but, from what we’ve seen, they are a very physical team who can run and press the entire match,” Lorenzo Insigne said. “But we won’t let ourselves be influenced by them; we’ll play our football. All we need to do is stay calm and prepare for this match like all the others in order to go out and play a great game.”
The Italians hold all the cards in this fixture. Their record against Austria is terrific as it includes four wins in four matches at international tournaments, all of them coming in the World Cup: 1-0 in 1934, 1-0 in 1978, 1-0 in 1990 and 2-1 in 1998. Italy also have not lost a match to Austria in their last 13 meetings (10 wins, three draws).
From a personnel standpoint, Giorgio Chiellini was forced to train separately from the rest of the squad as he recovers from injury while Alessandro Florenzi may also not be immediately fit for a return to Italy’s defensive setup yet. Ciro Immobile, Domenico Berardi and Lorenzo Insigne will continue to form the core of Italy’s offensive attack.
Austria News & Notes
The Austrians have shown the results of passion and determination in a major international tournament. They beat both Ukraine and North Macedonia to finish second in Group C, behind only Netherlands. Those two wins were enough to ensure Austria made their first appearance in the knockout stages of the European Championship, and their first in a major international tournament since the 1954 World Cup.
“In this phase of the tournament, there are no easy opponents. Italy haven’t lost for an eternity but perhaps there will come a time when they lose again,” Austria coach Franco Foda said. “It will be important for us to prepare with focus and recover, then we will do everything we can to win in London. It will be tough but the team are eager and ready. I have a plan.”
There are a few injury concerns for Foda going into this match, including the health of Christoph Baumgartner, Julian Baumgartlinger, Martin Hinteregger and Valentino Lazaro. Considering this could be Austria’s last match at Euro 2020, even half-fit players might be risked if the merits outweigh the cons.
Austria will have the advantage of the underdog status in this match. The Italians have been flawless so far, and there could be a bad day in the offing at some stage. Austria could also opt for a slightly more defensive approach, and play for a shootout at the end of the match. It is fairly unlikely these tactics will work against one of the best teams in the world but if they have a plan, they have a chance.
Betting Pick 1: Italy -209
Italy have all bases covered, which is unfortunate for Austria. Offensively, Italy took 60 shots in the first three matches of the group stage. That average of 20 shots per game is their highest ever recorded in a single edition of the European Championship since 1980. Defensively, the Italians have not conceded a goal in the last 1,055 minutes of soccer across competitions, which spans 11 matches. They just have too much across all areas of the soccer pitch and the bench, which should ensure Austria’s exit from the tournament on Saturday.
Betting Pick 2: OVER 2.5 goals (-111)
Italy will continue to create opportunities in the final third. They have a strong attacking core, buoyed by success in the group stage. There are several options for Roberto Mancini to utilize from the bench should there not be any early goals. In a knockout match, it’s important to note that gaps will open up in the field toward the end of the matches if any team is leading, particularly on the counter-attack. Even if Austria do not score against a stoic defense, Italy have enough depth to score three.
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