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Italy v Switzerland: Back Mancini’s impressive Azzurri to shine again



Italy take on Switzerland at Stadio Olimpico, Rome, on Wednesday in a 8pm kick-off.

The Azzurri can wrap up progression to the knockout stages with a victory after their superb 3-0 win over Turkey on the opening night of the tournament on Friday.

Switzerland, meanwhile, dominated Wales but dropped two crucial points by drawing 1-1.

Italy are 4/7 favourites to win the match, with the draw 11/4 and a Switzerland win 11/2.

The Swiss are always handy customers at tournaments and generally played pretty well against Wales, but I thought Italy would be a bit shorter than that to win to be honest.

Roberto Mancini’s side put in arguably the strongest collective performance of the tournament so far, albeit against a Turkish side which offered very little in transition.

In Breel Embolo, Switzerland certainly have an attacker with the pace and quality to scare an ageing Azzurri backline, but I still don’t think they’ve got enough to match Italy over 90 minutes.

The way Italy moved in and out of possession most resembled a well-drilled club team of any nation so far, so it’s not hard to see why they are 28 games unbeaten.

I expect it to be a tight affair, with Italy’s last 10 competitive matches all going under four goals, and 10 of Switzerland’s last 11 tournament matches also falling short of this mark.

Italy have also earned 4+ corners in all bar one of their 33 matches under Mancini, so this odds-against Bet Builder is allowing a little bit of breathing space in terms of both goals and corners:

If you’re looking for a bigger price, upgrade Italy corners to 4+, downgrade goals to Under 4, and include 3+ Swiss corners for a nice 3/1 shot.

The Swiss have earned 3+ corners in six of their last seven matches – including 12 against Wales – and can surely muster one more than the  two the Turks managed in a dismal display.

In terms of player bets, Leonardo Spinazzola certainly caught the eye as an inverted left-back against Turkey, scooping the man of the match award after a rampaging display.

The Roma defender had two shots on target during the game and can be backed at 12/1 (Sky Bet) to do so again, or 21/10 just to have one.

Jorginho was the best player of the pitch in my view, though, making three tackles and four interceptions alongside his usual brilliance in possession.

It remains to be seen whether the Chelsea midfielder is on penalty duties for his country or Ciro Immobile will seize them from him, but 21/4 (Unibet) for Jorginho to score anytime is a price worth chancing given that referee Sergey Karasev averages 0.50 penalties per game across his entire career, including awarding 12 in his last 18 matches in all competitions.

Karasev isn’t bad for cards either, so 6/1 (bet365) looks a huge price for Jorginho to be carded given that he could be the only man preventing Embolo having a free run at Giorgio Chiellini on the Swiss counter-attack on a few occasions. Alternatively he’s 20/1 to be the first player carded.

A tasty 66/1 (Betfair) I like is Spinazzola to have a shot on target and Jorginho and Granit Xhaka to be carded. The Arsenal man will have plenty in his zone to deal with in the shape of Nicolo Barella and Domenico Berardi, who were fouled three times and twice respectively against Turkey.

Adding Italy to win & Under 4.5 Goals boosts it to 125/1 if you’re feeling really bold!


Italy to win, Under 5 Goals, 3+ Italy corners @ 21/20 (bet365)

Italy to win, Under 4 Goals, 4+ Italy corners & 3+ Switzerland corners @ 3/1 (bet365)

Jorginho to score anytime @ 21/4 (Unibet)

Leonardo Spinazzola to have 1+ shot on target, Jorginho & Granit Xhaka to be booked @ 66/1 (Betfair)

I'm a freelance sports journalist who has worked for Goal & Bleacher Report amongst others. Get in touch, you're more than welcome to do so via Twitter.  

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