Matchup: Spain vs. Italy
Date/Time: June 27th, 3:00 p.m. ET
Soccer Betting Odds from WagerWeb Sportsbook
Asian Handicap: Spain -1.5 (+105)
Total: 3 (Over +100)
Two of the best European soccer nations in the world will collide in Brazil on Thursday in the second semifinal for the Confederations Cup, as Italy and Spain go to battle.
Spain figures to be the team to beat every time that it steps onto the pitch, and this is most certainly not an exception. La Roja had a relatively easy time in the ground stage of the Confederations Cup, knocking off Uruguay 2-1 and then coasting to victories of 10-0 over Tahiti and 3-0 over Nigeria to assure the Group B title. Of course, the stats are going to be inflated for this team based upon the level of competition that it faced in the opening round, so they really aren’t even worth looking at. Instead, we’ll choose to focus on the injuries at hand. Striker Roberto Soldado and Cesc Fabregas in the midfield both figure to be out for this one, which really shouldn’t be all that big of a deal when push comes to shove. Soldado figures to be replaced by either Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, David Villa, or David Silva in the lineup, and there are plenty of options for replacing Fabregas as well. It’s just a complete embarrassment of riches that the men in red have at their disposal.
Unfortunately for Italy, it has some of the same types of injury problems. Even worse though, is that its depth isn’t nearly what Spain has, and it will probably pay the price as a result. The biggest injury of course, is the one to Mario Balotelli. He’s one of the best strikes in the world, but he has a torn thigh muscle and has been sent home for the rest of the tournament. Now, the Italians have to make a bit of a lineup change, knowing that they have been running a 4-3-2-1 with Balotelli at the front. Manager Cesare Prandelli figures to put Alberto Gilardino up front to replace Balotelli, but there is a question as to whether he will be the only point man or not. Ignazio Abate is already out of the fold as well, and Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo are both up in the air to boot. Stephan El Shaarawy could be a suitable replacement in a two-striker set, but those are a ton of bodies in the midfield that are potentially missing.
The tacticians they are, the Spanish should be able to really dominate the majority of the possession in this match. We know that both have played wide open games, and we know that neither has played a typical 1-0 type of game that we have come to expect out of both sides, but that’s what we think is going to happen in this one. We want the ‘under’ on our side, as it is just insane to think that these two are going to combine for four goals to beat us on Thursday.
Spain vs. Italy Pick: Under 3
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.