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Italy v Russia Preview & Tips (1st June)
Italy and Russia lock horns in an international friendly this first of June. The game kicks off at 18:45 GMT.
Italy suffered a big blow before the Euro 2012 can even begin; this time it’s an off-the-pitch concern that shocekd the Blues before their opening game against Spain this June. Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and Domenico Criscito are among the 14 players facing investigations for alleged match fixing. More dreadful is the news that Prime Minister Mario Monti, in response to the recent events, could push to suspend football in Italy for no less than two years. It’s another tough scandal for Italian football.
The scandal apparently steers clear of the Azzurri’s first string but it nevertheless causes a psychological stir to the Italians. A dawn police raid three days ago woke the Italian training camp up, with copes in search of Criscito’s room. It was then and there when the defender was told that he was under investagation for suspected match fixing transactions.
Italy will be playing their first game since losing to USA 1-0 in February. Russia will be a stern test to them; only one place in the FIFA ranking separates both squads. A good game here will definitely send them in good form against Euro defending champions Spain.
Russia couldn’t find a way past Lithuania in their last friendly match. Despite dominating the game in terms of possession, Dick Advocaat’s side were consistently frustrated by a Lithuanian defense that handled Arshavin and company admirably. Every unsuccessful Russian attempt only gave the Lithuanians confidence up until such time that they were able to string together good attacks to test CSKA Moscow ‘keeper Igor Akinfeev.
This match against Italy will be Russia’s last friendly before diving into Group A of Euro 2012 less than two weeks from now. The Russians should feel blessed to be in a group where they are expected to dominate. Should they impress against Italy and put that Lithuania draw behind them, then you can expect them to have a booming opening game.
Italy v Russia Betting Preview
Both teams are coming off disappointing results and bouncing back will take priority in this tie. Italy are understandably better head to head, but Russia will offer a good challenge to the Blues in both attack and defense. The two managers won’t be taking this game very seriously, but as mentioned, only a place separates the two in the FIFA world rankings, and a win here could bring increase the deficit between both teams albeit slightly.
Verdict: Italy and Russia will play in a draw, 1-1.
Italy gets the most favour here with a win at 6/5, but a draw could ensue at 23/10 given the form of both teams. The game could go under 2.5 goals at 4/7, perhaps with a final score of 1-1 at 11/2. A nil-nil draw at 7/1 is also likely given that the Italians arguably possess the best defense in Europe today, while the Russians known to hustle well and frustrate opposition attacking runs again and again.
All odds are from Bet365.com (£200 FREE BET!).