Spain won the European Championship one year ago after crushing Italy in the finals by four goals to none and they look forward for the Conference Cup semifinal. Undefeated in the group stage, the reigning European and World champions have the first chance to advance to a likely final against Brazil.
Bet: Under 2.5 Goals
Odds: William Hill 2.30
Spain scored an average of five goals per match in Brazil and conceded a single goal to Uruguay, so it is only fair to say that Italy should shift into a defensive gear to have a fighting chance. Even though coach Prandelli is not a big fan of defensive football, past performance proves beyond doubt that taking chances upfront again Spain is suicide. Particularly worrisome for the Italians is the fact that despite facing less dangerous opponents in the group stage they conceded a total of nine goals, four of them against Brazil.
Italy doesn’t have any injury concerns and could easily send two strikers upfront, but they will probably stick to Balotelli in the offense. A 5-4-1 starting formation will give them enough depth to stage counterattacks when the opportunity arises, while breaking Spain’s famous passing game. On the other hand, the reigning European champions will switch to Villa, Torres and Mata upfront after giving this offensive line a break in the last match against Nigeria. The three strikers enjoyed an entertaining warm-up against Tahiti and scored a combined 10 goals, but this is the first serious test for them in Brazil.
It is hard to go against Spain even with the cover of a +1.5 Asian handicap, but William Hill provides punters with another profitable alternative. By wagering on over 2.5 goals to be scored, they will enjoy odds of 2.30, slightly higher than the industry average.