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|Double Chance and Total Goals||Odds|
|Italy or tie and Over 2.5||+150
|Germany or tie and Over 2.5||+155
Italy are going through a rough patch but this should be an entertaining game.
Back Germany or tie in the double chance market and over 2.5 goals
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This time last year, Italy were getting ready to contest the opening game of the European Championship. They delivered a fine performance in that curtain-raiser in Rome, breezing past Turkey by three goals to nil. Roberto Mancini’s men then went on to beat Switzerland, Wales, Austria, Spain and England (the latter two on penalties) to be crowned champions of the continent for only the second time. Having missed out on the 2018 World Cup, Italy were back as a major force.
After their victory at Euro 2020 (which retained its original name despite being delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic), Italy would have fancied their chances of going all the way at the 2022 World Cup. Instead, they failed to quality. The Azzurri finished below Switzerland in the group stage of the qualification process, before suffering a stunning 1-0 home defeat by North Macedonia in the semi-finals of the play-offs in March. Incredibly, the European champions will not be in Qatar in November.
On Wednesday, Italy played their first game since that shocking loss to North Macedonia. It did not go well. Facing the South American champions Argentina in a match dubbed as the Finalissima, Italy went down 3-0 at Wembley. If anything, the scoreline flattered the Europeans. Argentina were superior in every department. Instead of beginning his preparations for a World Cup, Mancini must focus on stopping the rot.
Saturday’s meeting with Germany in the Nations League means Italy will not have to wait long to test themselves against another strong opponent. Whether that is a blessing or a curse remains to be seen.
Italy were not present at the 2018 World Cup and Germany might as well have not been. The curse of the holders struck again in Russia, as for the fourth time in the last five tournaments the previous winners were eliminated in the group stage (see also: France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014). Despite that ignominy, Joachim Low held onto his job for the European Championship.
That was a massive mistake. Low may have been the manager in charge of Germany’s triumph at the 2014 World Cup, but by 2021 the national team was crying out for new ideas and a fresh voice. Germany at least made it out of a tricky group alongside France, Portugal and Hungary, but they were comfortably brushed aside by England in the round of 16.
The man who has been tasked with rebuilding the Mannschaft is Hansi Flick, who won the Champions League with Bayern Munich in 2020. For Low’s former assistant, it has been a case of restoring the players’ confidence and breathing new life into the national team setup.
Flick guided Germany through qualification impressively, with no team in Europe amassing more points than their 27 and England the only side to score more goals than their 36. Germany will want to keep that momentum going in the Nations League, where they will also face Hungary and England in the coming days.
Italy and Germany are the most successful European nations in soccer history. Both have won four World Cups, while Germany have won the joint-most European Championships (Italy are level with France in second). Through the decades there have been numerous high-profile encounters between the pair, with the Italians holding the edge: they have never lost a competitive game to Germany in 90 minutes. Mancini will hope that the head-to-head record gives his players a much-needed psychological boost ahead of the latest encounter in Bologna.
The home fans who are attending this match may well arrive at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara filled with trepidation rather than confidence, though. Germany have scored four goals or more in six of their last nine matches, while Italy’s defense did not look altogether solid in the aforementioned defeat by Argentina. That was Giorgio Chiellini’s final appearance for his country; despite his advancing years, the grizzled center-back will be a big loss.
Mancini will not want his players to shrink into their shells, while the fact the game will be played on Italian soil means the home team will be obliged to play on the front foot. Over 2.5 goals, therefore, looks like a solid selection, while Germany’s recent form means they should be able to avoid defeat at a minimum.
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|Italy vs Germany Information|
|Teams||Italy vs Germany|
|Location||Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna, Italy|
|Time||Saturday, 4 June 2022, 2.45 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Fox Sports 2, fuboTV|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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