Germany – $2.30 at Sportsbet
Draw – $2.94 at William Hill
Italy – $3.90 at Sportsbet
Road to the quarters:
Germany – Won 2-0 vs. Ukraine, drew 0-0 vs. Poland, won 1-0 vs. Northern Ireland, won 3-0 vs. Slovakia
Italy – Won 2-0 vs. Belgium, won 1-0 vs. Sweden, lost 0-1 vs. Ireland, won 2-0 vs. Spain
Germany have yet to concede a goal as they search for their first European Championship crown since England 1996.
Their defence was the obvious highlight of a group stage performance which, while rock solid, lacked the usual attacking ruthlessness we’ve come to expect from the world champions.
That changed in the round of 16 clash with Slovakia, where Mario Gomez and the recalled Julian Draxler shone in a 3-0 drubbing.
Many are now calling the Germans favourites for the title, while Sportsbet.com.au has them at $4 – behind only France at $3.75 – in the Euro 2016 outright betting.
In order to lift the trophy, however, they must first overcome a most unusual hurdle.
Germany and Italy have met eight times in major tournaments, but the Mannschaft are yet to register a single victory.
The last time these two faced off in competitive play was at the Euro 2012 finals, when Mario Balotelli struck twice to fire the Azzurri into the decider.
The Germans have had some success against their heavyweight rivals in friendlies, however, including a 4-1 thumping back in March.
It was results like that which prompted many pundits to dub this the worst Italian squad ever to grace a major tournament.
But Joachim Loew said this week that he and his charges were wary of the uncharacteristic multi-dimensionality of their quarterfinal opponents.
“They’re not the Italians that we normally know,” the German coach told reporters.
“They’re not only focused on defence but they play very, very well going forward.
“So … I believe we’ll have a very interesting, highly charged game on Saturday.”
Despite the negative press and a host of pre-tournament injuries, Italy have looked like potential challengers from the start.
They outclassed a talent-packed Belgium outfit on matchday one and saw off Sweden to all but secure their passage to the knockout rounds in straight sets.
A shock loss to Ireland had observers wondering whether the wheels were about to fall off, but Antonio Conte’s men responded by dumping back-to-back winners Spain out at the round of 16.
While Italian fans dream of a most unexpected second European title, the players have had no time to bask in their achievements thus far.
“You don’t prepare a game saying we won the one before, we’ll win the next one,” Alessandro Florenzi told the press.
“We went to work immediately after Spain, we watched the video and tried to find weaknesses in a team that doesn’t have many.
“The facts speak for themselves, they’re world champions, they’ve won so many matches, that’s what gives them confidence.”
Already missing the likes of Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti through injury, the Azzurri will now have to make do without Antonio Candreva (groin) and the suspended Thiago Motta.
Also in doubt is Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who is struggling to overcome a thigh problem.
Germany’s only concern is Jonas Hector, but the Koln full-back is expected to play after battling a head cold during the week.
Possible Germany XI
- Manuel Neuer
- Joshua Kimmich
- Jerome Boateng
- Mats Hummels
- Jonas Hector
- Toni Kroos
- Sami Khedira
- Mesut Ozil
- Thomas Muller
- Julian Draxler
- Mario Gomez
Possible Italy XI
- Gianluigi Buffon
- Andrea Barzagli
- Leonardo Bonucci
- Giorgio Chiellini
- Mattia De Sciglio
- Daniele De Rossi
- Marco Parolo
- Emanuele Giaccherini
- Alessandro Florenzi
- Graziano Pelle
Thomas Muller betting specials
Four appearances, zero goals, zero assists.
That is not the Thomas Muller we know and love.
While the rest of Europe’s star forwards have shaken off their early yips, the Bayern Munich man’s are still troubling him.
It’s not like he hasn’t had chances – he’s snatched at a number of good opportunities he would normally bury without a second thought.
But what’s that old saying? “Form is temporary, class is permanent.”
You get the feeling that Muller will step up and deliver the goods when Germany need him most.
Anytime goalscorer – $3.10 at Sportsbet
First goalscorer – $6.50 at Sportsbet
To score inside 10 minutes – $23 at William Hill
Graziano Pelle Euro 2016 bets
On paper, Italy’s attack is a shadow of its former glory.
There are no Baggios, no Del Pieros, no Vieris, Inzaghis, or Cassanos.
But they do have Pelle, and he’s a big reason the Azzurri have come this far at Euro 2016.
The Southampton man is a beast, but he possesses much more flair and finesse than people give him credit for.
He scored the sealers against Belgium and Spain, both in injury time.
He’ll have his work cut out against a tough German defence, but he’s the obvious bet for Italy.
First Italy goalscorer – $5 at CrownBet
Last goalscorer – $8.40 at CrownBet
To score a header – $15 at William Hill
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