UEFA European Under-21 Championships Final 2013: Italy U-21 v Spain U-21 Odds and Betting Preview
By David Cartlidge on 2013-06-17 20:06:02
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL. It's the conclusion of an excellent 2013 UEFA U-21 Championships in Israel here as Spain U-21 face Italy U-21 in the Final. The Spaniards are out for back-to-back trophies in the tournament, while Italy are looking to end a nine year drought. Spain are favourites at 1.80 with Paddy Power and Stan James while Italy comes in at 5.00 with Betfred and BetVictor. The draw meanwhile is 3.60 with Skybet and Boylepsports.
Spain Under-21 have without a doubt have been the most eye catching team of the tournament, as they've been led by the brilliant duo of Thiago and Isco. Since the main tournament started in Israel the team has played four and won four, while not conceding a single goal in the process and scoring eight. Last time out against Norway Under-21 they mixed superb defensive acumen with attacking flair to win 3-0. Spain U-21 are unbeaten in 25 competitive games, and will look to make this their fourth triumph at this level.
Coach Julien Lopetegui has a few one big decision to make ahead of this game, namely the striker situation. Álvaro Morata has hit four goals and is the top scorer in the tournament, this despite only playing 165 minutes and starting a game on one occasion. Rodrigo however made his claim to continue leading the line with a goal against Norway, and generally played well. Otherwise Lopetegui is expected to stick with the usual team as Illarramendi, Koke and Thiago form a three-man midfield. Iker Muniain is expected to start from the bench and be used as impact only.
Italy Under-21 meanwhile managed to get through a gruelling semi-final against Netherlands to secure their place in the Final. Italy themselves played three and won two in the group stages, smashing home six goals in the process before beating Netherlands 1-0. A mean defence has seen them concede only once and now they put it to work against a free flowing Spanish side. Coach Devis Mangia is proud of his own team's football though and will want to imprint it on this game, and not be intimidated by the favoured Spanish.
Changes are expected from Manga across the course, with namely Fausto Rossi and Ciro Immobile likely to make way. The former struggled in midfield with physical aspects while Immobile was hauled off later in the Netherlands game. It will be a struggle in parts for Manga but he knows in Lorenzo Insigne he has a special talent capable of matching the Spanish brilliance, while Manolo Gabbiadini has two goals to his name and can be a serious threat. Luca Marrone is the only absentee here, whiel Fabio Borini looks set to keep his place.
We'll start with the Over/Under market. Both teams have managed to find the back of the net quite easily this tournament while making sure their own end is kept tight. Spain particularly have become the first team to reach the final without conceding a goal since the group stage format began in 2000.This makes for an interesting game and I can see both teams sizing each other up before really going for the game. With this in mind a close affair is expected and Under 2.5 goals is the way to go. Skybet offer up the best odds and that's 1.72. Otherwise Over 2.5 goals is best priced 2.25 with BetVictor and Coral meanwhile.
Next to the Half-Time/Full-Time market. Again, it's a case of expecting a tight affair here given the approach of both sides and their defensive records. Then there is of course the face it's a final. Draw/Spain is the outcome that appeals most here with BetVictor offering the best odds at 4.80. Draw/Spain has happened twice in Spain's last six encounters, while another two times Spain/Spain has been the outcome. For that then 2.90 with BetVictor is the best price around. Italy did go to Extra-Time last time out though, and Draw/Draw at the end of the 90 minutes can't be ignored at 5.50 with Ladbrokes which is an excellent price.
Finally we move to First Goalscorer. Morata leads the standings and could start here, so back the on fire Real Madrid striker to open things up at 7.50 with BetVictor. Then there is Rodrigo at 6.0 with Skybet. Isco's influence on this tournament has been massive, and the Málaga's creative midfielder is 10.00 with Ladbrokes. He scored in the last game of course, with a magnificent strike. For Italy meanwhile look to Gabbiadini at 11.0 with BetVictor to add to his two goals so far. Insigne is the star man of this Italian team however and the Napoli player is 16.00 with BetVictor.
The game kicks off at 17:00 GMT and will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD.
David Cartlidge's bet on this game: 3pts on Spain U-21 to win at 1.80 with Stan James.
David Cartlidge's bet on this game: 2pts on Under 2.5 goals at 1.72 with Skybet.