Italy will be looking to continue their solid start to Euro 2012 on Thursday evening as Bet365 offer free bets and make them odds against at 6/4, when they host Croatia in a crucial Group C encounter.
With both teams desperate to make it to the knockout stages of the competition, this should be a tense match between two strong and ambitious teams.
Focusing on Italy to begin with, they picked up a decent point against Spain in their opening game. Following a poor run of form going into the match, not many gave them a chance, but they were impressive at times and will take the point at this stage.
It does mean they need to beat Croatia though. They can’t afford to go two games without a win and expect to qualify. If they were good against Spain, they need to be very good against Croatia. Three points is the only option.
As for Croatia, avoiding defeat will be their first aim. After winning their opening game over Republic of Ireland, they would be in a decent position going into their final game against Spain.
Having said that, this is a positive Croatian team and playing for a draw isn’t in their nature. They have some excellent attacking players and they will look to take the game to the Italians in the opening exchanges.
Manager Slavin Bilic will be aware that all of the pressure is on Italy too. They are the giant European nation and they are the team that need the win more desperately. Perhaps Croatia can take advantage of their opponent’s nerves in this one.
Both of these teams have plenty of players that can produce individual moments of brilliance and this should make it a decent game for the neutral to watch.
Despite it being the early stages of the competition, this game could have a knockout feel to it. Two top quality teams are going head to head and it really could go either way from 5pm on Thursday evening.