The weekend of international football comes to a climax on Sunday with Italy vs Croatia providing the main event. Italy and Croatia are neck and neck at the top of Group H and are clear favourites with the bookies to finish first and second in the group. This game will go a long way to proving which side will clinch that top spot.
Who Will Win?
Although Italy have a 100% record, they have struggled to wins against opponents you would expect them to beat comfortably. Their opening game against Norway resulted in a 2-0 away win which was an impressive performance but that has been followed by narrow one goal wins against Malta and Azerbaijan. Italy may lift their game when they come up against a tougher outfit in Croatia, like they did when they dispatched the Dutch in September, but it is hard to see value in their price as 5/4 favourites with Bet365.
Croatia have had a more convincing start, winning all three qualifying games and doing so with more conviction than their opponents. Croatia have scored 9 goals without reply so far during qualification, with 6 of them coming in one game against Azerbaijan. They have also kept clean sheets in six of their last eight games, so Croatia have got things right in both boxes recently. Odds of 11/4 with William Hill for a Croatia win represent good value and an away win could well be on the cards here.
Will There Be Goals?
Both teams will want to gain a stranglehold in the group, but both sides will know that first and foremost they must not lose this game. You can therefore expect a relatively cagey affair with a tactical battle commencing, particularly in the early stages of the game. Given the narrow margins Italy’s last few games have been won by, coupled with Croatia’s water tight defence, backing under 2.5 goals at 11/20 with Betfair may be a safe, albeit not very lucrative bet to back for this one.
Who Will Score?
Premier League sensation Graziano Pelle has been setting England alight and there are signs he is ready to take that form to the international stage. Pelle has scored 6 goals in 11 Premier League games and scored the winner for Italy in Malta last month in a 1-0 win. Pelle should lead the line alongside Ciro Immobile again on Sunday and you can back him to score anytime with 888Sport at odds of 28/11.