No Stopping Awesome Azzurri

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Italy have impressed at Euro 2020 so far and it looks like the Azzurri will have enough to get past Austria on Saturday.

Ciro Immobile and Domenico Berardi look set to star for Italy once again.

London is calling on day one of the Euro 2020 knockout stages with Italy taking on Austria at Wembley and the awesome Azzurri will be difficult to stop as they continue their march through the tournament under Roberto Mancini.

Italy have been the most impressive side in the group stage, putting Turkey and Switzerland to the sword in ruthless 3-0 fashion, and they finished up with a comfortable 1-0 success against Wales when Mancini took the option to rest the majority of his star players.

The odds suggest a comfortable win for Italy – the Azzurri are 20/41 to win in 90 minutes and it is difficult to oppose the odds-on favourites given their fine form.

Austria beat North Macedonia and Ukraine to finish second in Group E, however, they were turned over 2-0 by Netherlands and are 25/4 to win in regulation time and 7/2 to reach the quarter-finals by qualifying.

Mancini’s men to make another fast start

Punters should consider putting Italy in their accumulators but those looking for bigger prices on the singles could go for Mancini’s men to make another fast start by taking the 13/10 about them on the half time/full time.

Italy have won their last 11 matches and in nine of those they were ahead at half time, while Austria were fortunate only to be one down at the break when they faced the Dutch in their only contest against a team of superior ability during the group stage.

Mancini has managed to bring together a club-like approach to the Italy side, who press high and relentlessly, and are unlikely to take a backward step.

The front three of Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and Domenico Berardi have all looked sharp, while Jorginho has been class in midfield. The return to full fitness of Marco Verratti can surely only make Italy better in the knockout stages too. 

Another bet that could have legs is the 6/5 offered on Italy winning to nil. Giorgio Chiellini won’t be starting but his Juventus sidekick Leonardo Bonucci will make sure the Azzurri are as tight as ever defensively. 

Italy have conceded once in their last 15 matches and apart from set-pieces it’s difficult to see where Austria’s inspiration comes from.

David Alaba playing as a centre-back limits his ability to create from open play and it will probably be left to a potential moment of individual magic from Marko Arnautovic or Marcel Sabitzer to find a way through the Italian defensive wall.

Berardi to bag first

One aspect of Austria’s play that will have the Italians licking their lips is the desire to play a high defensive line.

Any one of Immobile, Insigne or Berardi could spring the offside trap if the through pass is spot on and Berardi appeals to open the scoring at 9/2.

He scored 17 times for Sassuolo in Serie A this season and has five goals in his last eight internationals. Berardi has not bagged at the Euros yet but he has had a healthy seven shots in only 155 minutes of play and looked lively.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Mark is the Racing Post’s football betting expert and he is also a regular pundit on talkSPORT and the Guardian’s Football Weekly.

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