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ITALY v PORTUGAL BETTING PREVIEWItaly earned a solid 1-1 draw away against Croatia in a behind-closed-doors match in Split on Friday night which keep the Azzurri 2 points behind Croatia in the standings. It was their 46th consecutive game without a defeat in Euro and World Cup qualifiers (W34 D12). Furthermore, Italy are unbeaten with five wins and four draws under coach Antonio Conte, who replaced Cesare Prandelli after last year's World Cup in Brazil.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has left Italy's squad after injuring his right knee in a 1-1 draw at Croatia and will be replaced by PSG's Sirigu. Lorenzo Di Silvestri was another injured player last Friday and will be out for six months. Daniele De Rossi could return after sitting out the Croatia match with a minor injury while Marco Verratti, Andrea Barzagli and Simone Zaza are sidelined. Candreva, Immobile and El Shaarawy will start in attack while Southampton's Graziano Pellè is doubtful.
Portugal come into this fixture fresh off the back of a 2-3 victory away against Armenia on Saturday courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. That victory was their 5th in the last 6 matches and means that Fernando Santos' men are now in firm control of their Euro 2016 qualification group as they are five points clear of their nearest challengers Denmark and Albania.
Cristiano Ronaldo will not feature as he has been allowed to leave the squad early to begin his holidays along with Danny, William Carvalho and Bernardo Silva. FC Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma, who did not feature against Armenia, is expected to replace Ronaldo and partner Nani and Eliseu up front.
This friendly will be very important for Italy. The Azzurri could be unseeded for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers if they fail to defeat Portugal in Switzerland. Anything other than a win would see the Italian’s drop into second pot. Italy are unbeaten against Portugal since 1976 and, having won the last six meetings, will also note they have conceded five goals in three games.
ITALY v PORTUGAL PROBABLE LINEUPS
ITALY (4-3-3) - Sirigu; De Sciglio, Ranocchia, Bonucci, Darmian; Soriano, Pirlo, Bertolacci; Candreva, Immobile, El Shaarawy.
ITALY v PORTUGAL BEST ODDS
|ITALY|| 1.53 with||Bet £10, win £24.00|
|THE DRAW|| 4.33 with||Bet £10, win £33.00|
|PORTUGAL|| 8.00 with||Bet £10, win £33.50|
ITALY v PORTUGAL PREDICTIONS
- Italy @ 2.40
- Both teams NOT to score @ 1.88
- 1-0 Correct Score @ 7.50
- Time of 1st goal 31-45 mins @ 5.50
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