UEFA Under-21 Championship Group B: England seek decisive Italy win
Gareth Southgate will lead his England Under-21 side out against rock-bottom Group B nation Italy, knowing a victory for the Young Lions will see them progress to the next stage in the Czech Republic.
In the other group fixture, table-toppers Portugal will contest Sweden, with a thrilling finale expected in the battle to avoid going home early.
England v Italy
The Italians have stumbled to bottom of this challenging group after picking up just a single point from their opening two games, while England narrowly managed to climb to second, thanks to a late Jesse Lingard strike which secured a 1-0 triumph over Sweden in their previous encounter.
Southgate’s hopeful side were highly-rated going into the tournament on Eastern European soil, but have managed to score only that one goal since arriving, with Harry Kane so far unable to continue his rampant Spurs form on to the international stage, though he is 7/2 with Coral to fire his nation to victory.
England are hopeful of Everton centre back John Stones recovering from concussion, but will be without Tottenham midfielder Alex Pritchard after he suffered ankle ligament damage in the win over Sweden.
A triumph for England (7/5) would guarantee progression, no matter what unfolds in the other clash, but Southgate will hope to finish top of the pile and avoid a semi-final showdown with the winners of Group A, with the likelihood being an encounter with competition favourites Germany.
Although, Italy possess plenty of firepower themselves, including Juventus starlet Domenico Berardi, on loan from Sassuolo, who made history last season by becoming the only player ever to strike two separate hat-tricks past San Siro giants AC Milan. The Turin prospect is 13/2 to open proceedings in this latest match-up.
Portugal v Sweden
Elsewhere, the group leaders Portugal will be hoping to finish off an impressive start with another victory which would see them clinch top spot ahead of England, and they are 16/5 to win with both teams to score.
Although, the Swedish will provide a tough test after snatching a 2-1 victory over Italy in their last encounter, with former Celtic striker John Guidetti opening the scoring before Isaac Kise Thelin netted a late winner, and are 7/2 to cause somewhat of an upset.
Guidetti’s current contract at Manchester City is set to expire next month and the feisty forward will undoubtedly be the interest of several high-profile clubs this summer, with the former Hoops hitman 2/1 to net again anytime.