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Italy vs Austria – Euro 2020 Last 16 Preview

Italy who are yet to concede a goal take on Austria, with the winner of this tie taking on Belgium or Portugal in the quarter finals. Italy still remain somewhat of an unknown quantity for me at this tournament with them not really being tested in the group stage, but it remains to be seen whether that is due to them being a good side who control games well, or were they just in a group with average teams who under performed, and whilst this Austria team are no world beaters, I feel they will offer a stiffer examination than what Italy have faced so far.

In their 3 games played at Euro 2020 so far, Italy have scored 7 goals, conceded no goals, had 60 shots with 17 on target, have had an average possession of 61%, been given 1 yellow card, no red cards and taken 18 corners.

Austria in their 3 group games scored 4 goals, conceded 3, had 37 shots with 11 on target, had an average possession of 55.33%, were given 3 yellow cards, no red cards and took 18 corners.

The referee for this game is Anthony Taylor (England), who this season has taken charge of 38 games, giving 115 yellow cards and 4 red cards, for an average of 3.03 yellow cards per game and 0.11 red cards per game. In his career to date he has refereed 343 games, giving 1184 yellow cards and 53 red cards, for an average of 3.45 yellow cards per game and 0.15 red cards per game.

The bookmakers (All prices taken from Skybet) have Italy as the very strong 2/9 favourites to progress to the quarter finals, with the Azzuri 4/9 to get the job done inside 90 minutes. Austria are 3/1 to spring a surprise and reach the quarter finals. The Austrian hopes will be heavily dependent on David Alaba being at his brilliant best, and even that may not be enough. I do however think that Alaba would be a good bet to pick up a card in this game, he is sure to be at the centre of the Austrian defensive effort and also will play a big part of them trying to transition defence into attack, the fact he is sure to be involved in everything for Austria in attack and defence, and will surely not be subbed off unless injured, means there is a decent chance that he picks up a card at some point. Whilst I have already stated that I don’t know what to make of this Italy side yet, I see them having too much for Austria here. Italy are well organised defensively and I think Austria will struggle to break them down, being restricted to set plays, long balls and crosses into the box as their best chance of scoring. Italy had a staggering 60 shots in their 3 group games, and have proven that they have no trouble creating attacking opportunities, particularly against some of the smaller and lower quality nations at this tournament, I see a similar story here as Italy progress with the minimum of fuss scoring 2 or 3 goals in the process.

The best bets on this game are (All prices taken from Skybet)

Italy to win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 – 9/2

David Alaba to be carded – 9/2

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