Sports betting players should be getting ready for the Euro 2012 semifinals this week, and on Thursday, two longtime powerhouses clash in Poland as Germany takes on Italy, who have overcome a lot to get to this point. Germany has always been favored to at least play for the title and even though it’ll be a hard-fought affair, the Germans will stay in the hunt for a fourth European Championship.
What: Soccer Betting
When: Thursday, June 28th, 2:45 PM ET
Where: National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland
Pick: Germany -120
Why Bet On Germany
The Germans had the audacity to rest three of their top four attackers against Greece, and still managed to roll to a 4-2 win over Greece to reach the semifinals of the European Championship for the seventh time in their history. Captain Philipp Lahm opened the scoring in the 39th minute, and after Greece equalized in the 55th minute, it only seemed to anger the Germans, who got goals from Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus in a 13-minute span between the 61st and 74th minutes. Klose and Reus were two of the players who was drafted into the team as Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller were rested, although the latter two were brought on as late subs anyway. And it wasn’t that the Germans scored, but three of the four goals were highlight-worthy and even Klose’s header was picture perfect. Greece didn’t offer much in the way of attacking in fear of Germany’s counterattack, but when the score was 1-1, you could tell that the Germans were going to put this game away with brutal efficiency.
However, it wasn’t all good for Germany, who were exposed again a couple of times at the back and the late penalty was simply a lapse in concentration, which can’t happen at this point in the tournament. It was also a below-average game from midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who revealed that he has been playing with an ailing ankle. Schweinsteiger didn’t practice over the weekend, but he reportedly is going to this weekend and he should be in the lineup, but most soccer betting sharps will wager on Italy targeting the ankle of arguably Germany’s most important player.
Why Bet On Italy
The Italians were absolutely dominant against England, but still needed to go to penalties after 120 minutes of open play ended in a 0-0 draw. From there, Italy took advantage of some fortune and more poor English penalty-taking to come out on top, but overall, the Azzuri were the better team by far. It was another spectacular effort from midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who continues to make former club A.C. Milan look silly after they let him go, thinking he was too old. Pirlo starred for a Juventus team that won the Italian Serie A without losing a single game and he has been one of the best players in the entire tournament as he dictates the attack with brilliant efficiency and flair. Also, his low chip-shot penalty in the shootout will go down in Italian lore. While Italy was wasteful in front of goal with their chances during regulation and extra time, they still put a lot of pressure on the English defense and Mario Balotelli, in particular, was in a mood as he was all over the place. When he was called upon, which wasn’t often, goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon was sharp and his early save on Glen Johnson kept the score knotted at zero.
However, the Germans provide a much different threat for Italy as they won’t be so apt to sit back and let the Italians come at them; in fact, it could be Italy who will be on the back foot in this match, much like they were in their group-stage opener against the defending Euro and World Cup champions from Spain, when they ended the match in a 1-1 draw. The Italians have proven that they can be effective either way, but if they give up an early goal and have to attack, they could be in trouble against the ruthless Germans.
How It Will Play Out
The Germans will be the soccer betting favorites for this Euro 2012 semifinal at -120, while Italy is rated at +330 and a draw comes in at +240. It is the Italians that have had the edge against Germany in their all-time meetings with 10 wins and three draws in 17 games, and Germany hasn’t beaten Italy since 1995. However, this Germany team is young and even though they’ll be carrying that record with them, they’ll be out to forge their own memories.
Germany will pressure Pirlo and not allow him the same time on the ball as England did, and Schweinsteiger will be there to break up attacks, although you will have to keep an eye on him. This is going to be the Germans’ toughest test to date, but they have a few more attacking options than Italy and in a low-scoring affair, Germany should get your online betting selection.
Germany Italy Betting Pick: Germany