The smart money should be going on Germany and we are backing Stefan Kuntz’s side to open the scoring in their final Under-21 Euros group game
Germany head into their final group game knowing they need just a point to guarantee their place in the last four of the Under-21 European Championships.
Stefan Kuntz’s men are on course for the semi-finals following two wins from two against Czech Republic and Denmark, with the side yet to concede a goal in the tournament.
Italy, by contrast, know their hopes of progession are slim with a 3-1 defeat by the Czechs in their last game severely denting the hopes of the Azzurrini. Tuesday night saw Portugal and Spain play out an excellent game in Group B, and hopes are high that another meeting of two top nations like Italy and Germany can produce an entertaining encounter on Friday evening.
Of course, had Germany already made it through to the knockout stages there would have been some temptation for the manager to rotate his squad. Yet given that they still need a point to confirm their semi-final spot, expect Kuntz to field a strong and motivated German starting XI.
And there is something about German national teams at major tournament finals that makes it difficult to back against. This Germany side, in particular, look extremely strong and have won 16 of the last 18 matches they have contested.
Italy, for their part, have won just three of their last 11 matches and over the last year have lost to England, Spain and Czech Republic.
These two sides have only ever met once before in this competition, with Germany triumphing 1-0 in the semi finals of the 2009 edition, and the temptation has to be to back them once more.
The price outright for a German win is worth considering as is the price of 3/1 (4.00) for a victory for Germany and both teams to score. Futhermore, Die Mannschaft are offered at 17/20 (1.85) to score first and this looks like a solid selection when considering Italy’s defensive record.
In each of the last four competitive matches where Italy have conceded, it has been the opening goal – a trend their upcoming opponents are fully capable of exploiting.