Italy appear to be trending in the right direction ahead of this summer’s rearranged European Championships and they certainly look like the team to beat in Group A.
Italy Offer Value in Outright Market
The Azzurri have come along way since they dramatically failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with Roberto Mancini overseeing a new dawn that has allowed some of the country’s up-and-coming talent to star alongside international mainstays such as captain Giorgio Chiellini.
That overhaul has certainly had the desired effect, with Italy breezing through qualifying with a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 games, while they also successfully topped their UEFA Nations League group to make it through to the semi-finals of that competition as well.
Italy are on a 22-match unbeaten run and they appear to have momentum on their side ahead of their group encounters with Turkey, Switzerland and Wales.
Mancini’s side are currently priced at
5/9 to top Group A, which on current form would seem likely to happen, particularly as they will be playing all their group matches on home soil in Rome, while they are an intriguing option at
12/1 to go on and win the tournament as a whole.
Tight Battle to Reach Knockout Stages
If Italy seem well placed to top Group A, then the battle for the remaining positions seems much harder to call.
Switzerland perhaps appear the most likely of the three teams to secure second place and with it a guaranteed spot in the knockout stages, as they have qualified from their group at each of the last three major tournaments.
However, Vladimir Petkovic’s side only won one of their eight games during 2020 and they will perhaps not be best pleased about facing an in-form Wales in their opening match at the finals in Baku on June 12, with the Dragons having only lost one of their previous 14 matches.
With just two places separating Switzerland (16) and Wales (18) in the current world rankings, that match could go along way to deciding which team finishes second.
Of course, four of the six teams that finish third in their group will also advance through to the knockout stages, so Switzerland and Wales could both still progress.
Turkey Outsiders to Progress
It would also be foolish to completely rule out Turkey, who like Wales, have enjoyed runs to the semi-finals of major competitions in the not too distant past and beat world champions France during qualifying.
However, Senol Gunes’ side have been struggling for form of late, winning just two of their last 11 matches, one of which came against minnows Andorra, with that run of form also contributing to their relegation from League B of the Nations League.
Turkey’s cause will not be helped by the fact they must face Italy in the tournament opener at the Stadio Olimpico on June 11, with the pressure likely to mount on the Crescent-Stars if, as expected, they lose that game.
*All odds correct at time of writing