Italy host Bosnia in European Championships qualification group J, kicking off at 8:45pm local time on Tuesday night. The Italians are looking for their 4th consecutive win, whereas Bosnia are in desperate need of the points to keep their automatic qualification hopes alive.
Home Team: Italy
Italy have started to rediscover their magic touch in the colours of the famous blue, as they look well on track to earn a place at the European Championships. After their shock failure to qualify for the previous World Cup, Roberto Mancini was given an arduous task of making the Italian national team a force again, and in recent matches, there are strong signs for this happening. They missed out on the UEFA Nations League finals to Portugal, but have started their European Championship qualification in fine style. Wins against Finland, Liechtenstein and Greece puts them top of the table, with one foot already at next summer’s championship. They have scored 11 goals in those three matches, and are yet to concede. This past Saturday against Greece, they scored three early goals inside 33 minutes to completely blow the opposition aside with Insigne scoring the pick of the goals. Can they obtain a fourth consecutive win here at home?
Away Team: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia would have fancied themselves to target 2nd place in this group behind Italy, with Finland and Greece as other competitors. However, it hasn’t panned out that way, having being held at home to Greece in a 2-2 draw, and then disappointingly lose 2-0 to Finland this past Saturday night. Bosnia were missing duo Sead Kolašinac and Miralem Pjanić, and it proved costly as they couldn’t muster too many opportunities at the oppositions goal. One saving grace for Bosnia in this qualification campaign is that if they were to miss out on an automatically qualification spot, or even a play-off spot, they are guaranteed to qualify via the play-offs anyway due to them winning their respective UEFA Nations League – a group containing Northern Ireland and Austria. You’d have assumed that collecting 10 points from a possible 12 in the UEFA Nations League would have given Bosnia extra confidence, but it has failed to materialise that way. Can they get back on track with a positive result against Italy?
Head to Head
The two teams have only ever played once in their history, and that fixture was way back in 1996 in a friendly match. The Bosnians won the game 2-1, in a surprise result against an Italian team that included Francesco Toldo, Pauli Maldini and Gianfranco Zola. They have never played a competitive match until now.
Predictions and Betting Tips
Italy are strong favourites to win at 4/9, with Bosnia priced at 11/2 to get a surprise victory, or at 3/1 to earn a respectable draw. I think that the Italians are on fire at the moment and mean business in these European Championship qualifiers. I am going to pick them to win again, via a 2-0 score line at 6/1. For goal scorers, I’d back Lorenzo Insigne and Fabio Quagliarella to score at 6/1. To boost your odds even more on an Italian win, you can back them to win to nil at 11/8, win both halves at 2/1 or even score 3+ goals at 11/5. If you would like to back the visitors in some capacity, then you can back them to lead at half time at 3/1. Finally, for the tipsters, you can back Edin Dzeko of Bosnia to get some goals against the country where he plays his football, with him at 11/1 to score and lose, or 28/1 to score in the first 10 minutes.[geot country="US,CA" ]
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