Belgium vs Italy by FP
Marc Wilmots Belgium side are now packed full of star players, and were very impressive when winning their qualifying group. What may surprise some of you is that Belgium are actually the highest ranked European nation in the FIFA World Rankings currently in second place, ahead of the likes of world champions Germany and current Euro trophy holders Spain.
Belgium will be very dangerous when going forwards. Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne will create plenty of chance for the strikers and in Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke and Mitchy Batshuayi Belgium seem to be blessed with a strong strike force. Radja Nainggolan will be a player to watch this tournament in central midfield where he will be supported by Marouane Fellaini, Moussa Dembele and Alex Witsel.
Although they look very attack minded, Belgium may be vulnerable defensively. Their usual captain Vincent Kompany has been ruled out of the tournament along with fellow defenders Engels, Lombaerts and Boyata. Belgium’s first choice defence does not look terrible with Toby Alderweireld, Jason Denayer, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen making up the back four but they would look very weak if one or more of those four players picked up an injury or suspension. Belgium will be hoping to score more than they concede – and they will concede.
This will be a new look Italy team and the first tournament in a long while without Andrea Pirlo gracing the middle of the park but they still have a good team and a good chance of progressing far in this competition. As always, Italy look sound defensively and have plenty of solid options available with Bonucci and Chiellini making a very good pairing in central defence. De Rossi should sit deep in midfield and control the tempo for the Italians, but they do seem to lack a bit of flair in attacking positions. Italy manager and future Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will be relying on not conceding many goals whilst picking up narrow wins to progress through the group stage.
The tactics here will prove the difference between the two sides. Belgium are priced up by the bookmakers as favourite to win this match at around 2.50, whilst Italy are around 3.00 with the draw also around 3.00. I think that Italy could well frustrate the Belgium attacking players by limiting the space available and slowing the tempo of the game down. If Italy can keep it tight then there is always a good chance that Belgium will concede so I will be taking a chance and backing Italy here. Italy in the ‘draw no bet’ market are priced at an attractive 2.10 which is a very good bet indeed.
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|Italy draw no bet||10bet||2.10||10||0-2 WON (+11 units)|