Italy and England get their Euro 2024 qualifying campaigns underway with a clash of the titans style match on Thursday night. It’ll be played at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples, here’s hoping that they don’t play at the level that Napoli have set there this season.
If you’re planning on laying down a bet builder on the game, you’ll want to take a scroll through this article first. I’ve broken down the stats for shots, goals, corners, fouls and cards so you can select a winner with confidence that the stats back up your picks. If you’re not sure on how exactly to use the pack, why not take a read of my Stats Pack Guide first?
Italy are expected to line-up in a 4-3-3 formation with an unfamiliar name leading the line up front. 23-year-old Argentinian-born Mateo Retegui who’s have a great season on loan at Tigre from Argentine giants Boca Juniors.
There should be a midfield three of Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Nicolo Barella. A wealth of experience and quality between those names.
England’s front three should be a strong one in Harry Kane, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka. The former and latter are having ridiculously strong seasons in the numbers of goals they’re producing, and Grealish is becoming more of a direct threat too.
Maguire and Stones will likely be the centre half pairing for England tonight. I know a lot of people are always dumbfounded at the inclusion of Maguire, but bar the Nations League disaster, England have been incredible defensively in the last few years.
The first thing that stands out to me is the fact that during 2022, Italy were conceding more shots than they were having. A surprising stat for a heavyweight footballing nation, but then again, they did miss out on the World Cup.
There aren’t many standouts in this team stats section in truth. Italy average 1.90 cards per 90 mins and England have 1.90 against. There’s definitely a shout for Italian cards. but I could see cards on both sides despite England’s low team average.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi is the standout here, having far more shots output and a better rate of accuracy that anyone else. He averaged 4.05 shots P/90 in 2022 with 1.43 hitting the target.
Harry Kane is the man who leads the way for England, of course. He’s one goal away from being England’s all-time top goal scorer so I think we’ll see several attempts at goal tonight. He had five when England last travelled to Italy last September.
Bukayo Saka is next, he’s having a phenomenal season for Arsenal and his numbers for England are decent. The inclusion of Maguire at 1.30 shots P/90 is interesting, he’s always good value for shots as he regularly gets his head on the end of set-pieces.
Player Goals and Assists
A surprising one as right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo tops the chart with his three goals. Keep an eye on Vincenzo Grifo though, the Freiburg winger has two goals and an assist across three appearances. He should start on the right hand side of their attack tonight.
Harry Kane has had a whopping 20 goal contributions across 15 appearances in 2022. That’s a total of 15 goals and five assists. One more goal will see him make history as he’ll become England’s most prolific striker in history – He’ll be gunning to achieve it.
Saka’s six goals in nine is a really good return, I think he can cause Leanardo Spinazzola all kinds of issues this evening.
Not much to shout about here, although some of the names in the last are obvious candidates in the fouls markets. The likes of Barella and Verratti will be battling in the midfield areas all night long.
Jack Grealish being fouled 6.25 times P/90 is mental. The interesting thing for me is that he’s up against Giovanni Di Lorenzo who was yellow carded for fouling Grealish when the two sides met in Italy back in September.
Di Lorenzo has committed five fouls across the last two meetings between Italy and England, so he’s a player worth having an eye on.
Matchups to watch
Giovanni Di Lorenzo vs Jack Grealish
Nicolo Barella/Marco Verratti vs Jude Bellingham
Leanardo Spinazzola vs Bukayo Saka
England’s team average for cards is relatively low, but their chances of picking them up is always going to increase against an opponent the quality of Italy.
Maguire has a couple of cards to his name and is averaging 1.30 fouls P/90. I believe his odds for a foul tonight is around 1.44 (4/9) and that looks great. Rice and Bellingham could be good options, I think the most interesting aspect about tonight is the battle in central midfield.
On that midfield battle, and Rice and Bellingham, Marco Verratti is being fouled 3.00 times P/90 so he could quite easily get them to commit and give away fouls.
Domenico Barardi is fouled over two times per 90 minutes so there’s every chance that he could end up giving Luke Shaw a hard time.
Matchups to watch
Jude Bellingham vs Marco Verratti
Luke Shaw vs Domenico Barardi
Harry Maguire vs Mateo Retegui
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Taking a look at the stats, Sky Bet’s boost really caught my eye. Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka to have 1 or more shots on target each. It’s not a bet builder but still a nice looking 2/1 to build a balance, boosted from evens.
Italy vs England
Harry Kane averaged 2.18 shots on target p/90 in 2022 in England colours and has managed 6 in his last 2. In the league this season he’s averaging 1.44.
He’s also looking to break the England goal scoring record and who better to do it against than the team they lost to in the Euro’s Final last time out.
Speaking of Italy, when the Three Lions played them in the Nations League in Italy last September, Kane notched 2 attempts on target from 5 shots in total.
Bukayo Saka on the other hand is having a stand out season for league leaders Arsenal, with double figures for goals and assists. He has averaged 0.79 shots on target p/90 from 2.51 shots.
But his England shooting stats are much more impressive, managing 1.36 shots on target p/90 last season for England.
He managed at least one shot on target in 3 of his 4 World Cup outings, and is fresh from notching twice against Crystal Palace.