Round of 16
Italy v Spain
Tuesday June 28, 2:00am
Both these teams come into the knockouts on the back of defeats. However, while Spain were beaten by a Croatian side with genuine title ambitions Italy lost to a poor Irish team. Spain have certainly played the better football so far in this tournament and they’ve been unbeatable in knockout games since 2008.
The last time Spain even conceded a goal in the knockouts at either the Euros or World Cup was in 2006 as they’ve kept 10 consecutive clean sheets in knockout matches since, with five wins by either 1-0 or 2-0 scores. Within that streak was the 4-0 win in the final of Euro 2012 against the same opponents they face here and Italy could be sick of facing Spain. Since beating them on their way to the final of USA ’94 they’ve met 11 times and have recorded just one win, in a 2011 friendly.
Spain’s defeat to Croatia ended a 10-game winning streak in competitive matches that had come without conceding a goal but it could easily have been extended if they’d scored a penalty to go ahead on 72 minutes. It’s certainly made their path to the final far tougher but they will still be confident of beating anyone.
Since the start of 2012 they’ve won eight of 15 games against teams we had ranked 5th-20th (W8-D5-L2) and 11 of the matches have had fewer than three goals as they kept eight clean sheets. Narrowing this sample to competitive games and six of seven matches had fewer than three goals as they’ve kept five clean sheets and five were goalless at half-time.
Italy’s general record against the best teams in recent years is also poor and going back to that 4-0 defeat four years ago they’ve gone W1-D5-L6 against teams we had ranked in our top 10. Ignoring home games those results look even worse, at W0-D3-L5.
Their best bet will be to rely on their strong defence and six of their last eight matches against teams ranked above them have ended with fewer than three goals so this looks set to be another low scoring affair.
Since 1996, the opening knockout round of the Euros (which has previously been the quarter-finals) has resulted in just one win in 90 minutes for the lower ranked side from 20 attempts but there have been eight draws and six of the matches have finished goalless. So they’ve been undeniably tight affairs and the higher ranked side has kept 12 clean sheets.
Spain’s seven knockout wins in 90 minutes since 2008 have all been to nil and with Italy’s weak attack we really like the look of a Spain clean sheet here. However, Spanish goals should also be at a premium so backing the 1-0 Correct Score to Spain at 6.0 and the 0-0 at 6.4 with a bit of cover on the 2-0 at about 10 looks the way to approach things.
BACK – Correct Score 0-0 at 6.4 for 0.4 unit
BACK – Correct Score Spain 1-0 at 6.0 for 0.5pt
BACK – Correct Score Spain 2-0 at 10.0 for 0.1pt