2014 WORLD CUP SOCCER
Kickoff: Saturday, 6:00 p.m. EDT
Arena Amazonia – Manaus, Brazil
Italy +147, England +180, Tie +197
Over/Under: 1.5 Goals (Over -158, Under +130)
The first World Cup 2014 fixture featuring a pair of past winners is set for the Amazon city of Manaus on Saturday night when England takes on Italy.
Here is the BetDSI Sportsbook team preview for Italy:
But the head-to-head history suggests their Group D opener won't live up its illustrious billing, particularly with regard to goals. Three competitive clashes between the Three Lions and the Azzurri have served up just a single strike since their third-place playoff at World Cup 1990, which hosts Italy won 2-1. With their last two such meetings ending goalless, it will take no small amount of chutzpah to bet on a flurry of strikes by the banks of the world's biggest (in terms of discharge of water) river.
Coaches Roy Hodgson and Cesare Prandelli were both in situ for the Euro 2012 quarter-final 0-0, when Italy progressed by winning 4-2 on penalties. The likes of Daniel Sturridge and Ciro Immobile have been added to the mix after 20-plus goal seasons in the Premier League and Serie A, but they will oppose a pair of battle-hardened defensive units.
Only holders Spain conceded fewer goals in European qualifying than Hodgson's men and La Roja played two less matches, while Prandelli looks likely to start most of Serie A winners Juventus' defense in Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. Furthermore, only one of the past 13 World Cup opening matches played by either side produced three or more strikes and that came back in 1998, so a draw featuring UNDER 1.5 goals is the most sensible course of betting action.