Italy vs Rep. of Ireland (1945 GMT)
The Irish are already going home. But they play a big role in deciding how far Italy go in the competition. Should Croatia and Spain play out a draw, then Italy would need to win by 3 clear goals to guarantee a place, unless Croatia and Spain draw 2-2, which is the one result that would guarantee they both qualify.
Money could be made in the handicap betting here, although don’t expect Ireland to simply roll over. They have several players that might be bowing out of International football soon, and an upset against Italy might be a pretty decent way to end it.
Balotelli might be rested, as he didn’t complete training yesterday, but that might be a blessing, as his replacement Di Natale has looked the much more likely to score goals.
Im hoping that Italy do get the goals they require, as I think they have been the more exciting team to watch than Croatia, but it certainly won’t be easy.
Italy (-1) @ 11/10
Pirlo AGS @ 3/1
Italy to win to nil @ 6/5
Prediction: Rep. of Ireland 0 Italy 3 (Di Natale 2, Pirlo)
Spain vs Croatia (1945 GMT)
Will these sides play out a two-all draw and both qualify? Doubtful. Spain have seen Germany rip apart Group B, and will have to win here to show they are capable of defending their title.
Mandzukic should play, and with three goals in two games, you’d hope that he would, as he is sure to to be key to any chance Croatia have here.
Torres will expect to start after a confident performance against Ireland, scoring twice, and he will be thinking of scoring today, to put himself level with Mario Gomez in the race for the Golden Boot.
The second placed team, most likely Croatia or Italy, would play the winners of Group D, which could force a match-up between Croatia and England, which was the match that Croatia won in qualifying four years ago, to send the Three Lions home.
I am expecting Spain to win this one, and there is little value in that result, so expect money to be made elsewhere, I’ve had two consecutive wins on the HT/FT result, and am hoping today makes it 3/3.
Draw HT Spain FT @ 3/1
Spain to win to nil @ 6/4
Spain to win by 1 goal @ 13/5
Torres FGS & Spain win 3-0 @ 50/1
Prediction: Spain 2 (Torres, Xavi) Croatia 0
By Brad Smith
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