Italy tackle tartan team Scotland, Germany to sink Slovakia in friendly fixtures
Holly Thackeray | May 27, 2016
England aren’t the only Home Nation taking part in tasty friendly fixtures this week, as Scotland seek to throw a spanner in the works of continental giants Italy’s warm-up for Euro 2016. While, world champions Germany also flex their muscles ahead of the France finals with a Slovakia soiree.
Coral run the rule over the best wagers for punters in these prestige games, so read on for our thoughts on these Sunday evening scuffles – as the Tartan Army travel to face the Azzurri, will there be more terrific chants of “deep fry yer pizzas, we’re gonna deep fry yer pizzas”?
Italy v Scotland
- International friendly
- Sunday, May 29th
- Kick-off: 19:45 BST
- Ta’ Qali National Stadium, Malta
- Live on Premier Sports
Strachan seeking squad tweaks ahead of World Cup qualifiers
Scotland are expected to approach their friendly fixture with European football royalty Italy, which will take place on the Mediterranean island of Malta, and their subsequent dust-up with France, as preparation for their 2018 World Cup qualifiers which begin in autumn.
Having missed out on Euro 2016, for which the Azzurri are now warming up, the Scots are 9/2 to scupper Antonio Conte’s preparation and improve on a poor record of just one victory in 10 attempts against the decorated Italians.
Gordan Strachan’s spirited tartan team have been on a rampant run of three victories since they lost out on a place in France after drawing with Poland and losing to Georgia, so can certainly pose problems, and are 5/2 to frustrate Italy into a draw.
Perhaps encapsulating the mood in the Scottish camp, recently relegated Norwich City forward Steve Naismith said: “It’s not great to be the warm up act.”
“Everybody’s just got to realise that this is the feeling and you don’t want to be doing it again when you’re that close in such a good position.”
Norwich attacker Naismith is 7/2 to strike anytime, while Bournemouth wingman Matt Ritchie grabbed the winner last time out versus Denmark and is 14/1 to dispatch first again, with Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher back from his French football journey is 8/1 for the final say,
Azzurri outsiders in the frame
As for Italy, Conte still has plenty of tinkering to do ahead of June, having announced a preliminary squad lacking in quality midfield conductors, with veteran Andrea Pirlo omitted and PSG playmaker Marco Veratti injured.
Still fighting for a spot on the plane to France, however, are plenty of exciting youngsters, who may not make it the finals but should get a chance to shine here.
AC Milan-owned wingman Stephan El Shaarawy has been a sensation for Roma this season, and is 9/2 to open scoring in Malta, while Fiorentina fledgling Federico Bernardeschi is 8/1 to prove a potent threat anytime. Should customers also fancy a more experienced punt, Southampton goal poacher Graziano Pelle is even-money to breach Scotland’s backline.
Germany v Slovakia
- International friendly
- Sunday, May 29th
- Kick-off: 16:42 BST
- WWK Arena, Augsburg
- Live on BT Sport 2
Low’s lads looking for consistency
World champions Germany may have topped their Euro qualifying pool, pipping fierce rivals Poland to the post, but theirs was an inconsistent campaign to reach France with revealed frailties.
So, having seen bitter foes England leave Germany with a historic victory, relative minnows Slovakia may fancy their still outside 9/2 chances of pinching a draw on enemy turf.
There have however, been no draw between this duo of Euro 2016 teams in nine previous meetings, and Die Mannschaft will surely be confident of victory (2/7) to boost their confidence ahead of their contest for the continental crown.
Joachim Low’s lads are not to be underestimated despite their recent rocky patch, having bounced back emphatically to thump Italy 4-1 on German soil as a response to their English errors, so Slovakia should provide the perfect platform on which to test fringe players.
Bayer Leverkusen attackers to impress?
Among those still jostling to catch Low’s eye, are Bayer Leverkusen duo Karim Bellarabi (8/5 to notch anytime) and Julian Brandt (7/5), who can certainly helped expose Slovakia down the flanks after notching a combined 15 Bundesliga goals this season. Sought-after Schalke starlet Leroy Sane (also 7/5 after dazzling down the wing with eight league goals) is another seeking to cement his squad spot.
While, Germany will also be able to call upon more experience goal threats in usual attacking suspects such as stars from their World Cup winning squad including Thomas Muller (3/1 for the first goal), Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze.
Slovakia will, however, be buoyed by news that Die Mannschaft number one and Bayern Munich post protector Manuel Neuer is to be rested for this duel, with another Bayer talent in Bernd Leno tipped to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen to start in his stead.
This potential now could leave the door open to big Slovakian attacking names Marek Hamsik of Napoli fame (7/2 to notch anytime), Adam Nemec (Willem II) and Miroslav Stoch formerly of Chelsea to take their chances.