Despite their massive odds of 11/2, it is my firm belief that Italy have the ability to take this tournament by the scruff of the neck and with just three games to go…
…you’d be crazy not to have a punt on the Azzurri!
Unlike previous Italian teams throughout history this team seems devoid of the big names and celebrities that have adorned the blue of the Azzurri in the past. This is the deceptive thing about the current Euro 2012 semi-finalist, they seem to be a team thrown together from a number of low key players and that fact that England were knocked out of the tournament by a player who struggled to get his place with West Ham, is a kick in the lower parts for the snobs of football.
It is no surprise that Spain alongside Germany have probably been the two most impressive teams in the tournament so far and the manner they have dispatched their opponents so far should fear their semi-final opponents. It’s important to note that Spain’s biggest challenge so far in Poland/Ukraine was their game against Italy, a side which nobody expected to get anything from that game.
Many would say that Spain were lucky to escape that game with a point, having grabbed a late goal courtesy of Cesc Fabregas. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the Italians were well organised and defensively clever against the world champions and this without Balotelli for much of the game. Having received a yellow card, it’s my opinion that Italy coach Prandelli feared the Man City striker would get his marching orders and withdraw him straight away.
Since then Balotelli has looked a lot more mature and as much as possible, has rowed in with his team mates in the attempt of achieving glory in Poland/Ukraine. He scored an world class goal against the Rep. of Ireland and gave Terry/Lescott a torrid time in their quarter-final against England before firing home a penalty after extra-time. His form will be crucial for Italy making to the final and eventually lifting the European Championship trophy.
The playmaker of the Italy set-up Pirlo pulled the necessary strings to get his side into contention for this trophy and has been a shining beacon for his nation in this tournament. Germany will take into his account his previous performances in this tournament when putting together their game plan for Thursday’s game.
They say that Germany as a footballing nation rarely stray from their stereotype, yet in the Champions League final a number of players seem to get caught up in the emotion of the occasion. Could this happen to the same crop of players this week, in a battle which they a clearly expected to win.
Italy on the other hand will be the least fancied of all four teams in the semi-final and face Thursday’s game with no pressure on their back and IF they reach the final, they will once again be underdog – that I have no doubt about. There’s a quiet approach to this Italian side with egos or internal bickering amongst their players and when everyone else is busy examining Germany and Spain or Cristiano Ronaldo, Italy are quietly planning an great escape from Poland/Ukraine with the top honour in European football!
Take the 11/2 on the Azzurri as it could be the bet of the summer!