Two clashes on Monday bring the round-of-16 to a close, and England will be hoping to join Wales in the quarter-finals by beating Iceland. However, the clash of the day, and arguably the whole round, comes first in the shape of Spain vs Italy – and one of these footballing giants will be heading home. We’ve tips and analysis for both of the games.
Spain vs Italy (5pm)
Match Betting: Spain 6/5, Draw 21/10, Italy 7/2
Neither team would have been expecting to be playing each other at this stage of the competition and, whilst Spain’s defeat by Croatia would normally have boosted the Italian’s confidence, they also lost their last group game against the Republic of Ireland. What the Italians can draw confidence from is their overwhelming superior record against Spain, having won 9 and drawn 7 of their previous 19 matches. Admittedly, they haven’t met in a major competition since Italy won their matches in both the 1988 European Championship and the 1995 World Cup, but they’ve still fared best in the three friendlies played this century, drawing 1-1 in 2004, winning 2-1 in 2011, and drawing 1-1 in March this year.
Up until there last matches, both teams had looked very solid in defence, with the Italians having posted 5 clean-sheets on the trot, and Spain having posted 6 clean-sheets on the bounce when disregarding friendlies. Both past results and recent result suggest neither team is going to allow the other much space – and backing less than 1.5 goals may be the answer.
Less than 1.5 goals @ 23/20 (Various Bookies)
England vs Iceland (8pm)
Match Betting: England 4/7, Draw 29/10, 8/1 Iceland
It’s fair to say that England completely dominated possession in all 3 of their group games against Russia, Wales and Slovakia, yet they only converted that possession into 1 win and 2 draws, which in no way reflected their superiority. However, in only managing to score 3 goals, and conceding 2 goals, they did show that they are potentially vulnerable. Furthermore, Iceland haven’t been given the credit they deserve for qualifying from a tough qualifying group, and they also came through their group undefeated, scoring in each game. England should win but, as they rarely make it easy for themselves, backing both teams to score looks a touch of value.
Both teams to score @ 9/5 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power)