England v Italy latest Euro 2012 odds, news and free bets

There will be five teams left in the competition when England meet Italy which will make that last spot in the semi-finals all the more tangible and Roy Hodgson must be delighted that they have a genuine chance of making the last four of this competition

The Three Lions have produced three mixed performances against France, Sweden and Ukraine, although the net results has been seven points in the bag and they can now prepare for a match against a team that drew their group matches with Spain and Croatia before beating Republic of Ireland 2-0.

The bookies offer similar odds about England, Italy and the Draw in the 90 minute market, with England available at 15/8 with Paddy Power and some will feel this is a good price about the team winning their third consecutive match following that 1-1 draw with the French.

Wayne Rooney made a scoring return to the team on Tuesday and is sure to be sharper for that run-out in Donetsk, with odds of 6/1 (bet365 free bets) available that the Manchester United forward once again breaks the deadlock and potentially sets up a semi-final against Germany.

It is probable that Hodgson will name the same team to play Italy and that will mean Danny Welbeck in attack so it’s a surprise to see the forward at odds of 9/1 considering he has played all three games with panache and real energy.

Steven Gerrard has been the heartbeat of the team although it appears the captain is more likely to be a provider of assists rather than scoring goals, although the central defensive pairing of Lescott and Terry offer a threat.

England were on the ropes against Sweden in their second game and Italy will hope to forge a similar situation in this match, with Cesare Prandelli’s team available at 15/8 to record a victory which is perfectly possible when you consider how shaky the Three Lions defence has looked on occasions.

The big question for Italy is which two players are selected in attack and it appears that Antonio Cassano has claims on one starting berth after his header cracked the Irish defence in that final Group C match. The Milan forward is a 9/1 chance to score first here and his pace will cause Terry and Co problems.

England supporters would probably prefer to see Mario Balotelli on the bench considering the enigmatic forward is capable of creating something from nothing, although perhaps the manager will opt for him instead of Antonio Di Natale.

The odds on No Goalscorer is a 7/1 chance and this is an eminent possibility, with both teams being afraid to concede that all-important first goal and we have to face the facts that this could go all the way to extra-time and penalties.

Both teams can be backed at 12/1 to win in extra-time while the prospect of penalties is fairly real and William Hill go 10/1 that one team claims victory on spot kicks.

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