by Tom Allen
Very difficult to understand the prices on offer for the final of Euro 2012
and surely there is only one bet to be had.
Spain play Italy in Kiev on Sunday night and quite rightly it is the
defending world and European champions that are favoured by the bookmakers.
However, the odds are skewed far too much in favour of the Spanish and how
anybody could be backing them at a little over evens to win inside 90 minutes is
I did just that when thinking that Vicente del Bosque's men were good things
in their semi-final against Portugal but on reflection Spain have been
regressing throughout the tournament and the same can hardly be said of their
This pair contested Group C's opening fixture and while the 1-1 score line
was fair enough it was a match in which Italy displayed tremendous qualities.
The Azzurri lead through Antonio Di Natale before Cesc Fabregas earned Spain
a point but Italy manager Cesare Prandelli will now know exactly what it takes
to get the better of the jollies and they have come on leaps and bounds in the
Having bossed their quarter-final with England, requiring penalties to
advance after a goalless draw with the Three Lions, Italy were excellent in
defeating Germany in Warsaw on Thursday and they thoroughly merited their 2-1
Mario Balotelli stole the headlines with a brilliant brace but it was Andrea
Pirlo that once again proved the driving force for the Italians and I don't
think there is any stopping them now.
Prilo, advised in these pages as a potential Player of the Tournament hero at
three-figure odds before a ball was kicked in anger, has continued his
astonishing domestic form for Juventus with a string of unrivalled displays for
his country and his battle with Andreas Iniesta on Sunday is sure to be pivotal.
Iniesta however, unlike Pirlo, has struggled to create chances for teammates
simply because del Bosque has chosen not field a recognised striker more often
than not in Poland/Ukraine and that could be Spain's undoing in the showpiece.
I expected Spain to be around the 6/4 mark to get the job done inside normal
time and the 3/1 on offer for an Italian victory is insulting.
There has been no fluke about any of their impressive results at these finals
and again they have thrived in tournament conditions when so many doubted their
3pts Back Italy-Draw (Double Chance) @ 7/10 (888sport,
Already Advised: Andrea Pirlo (Player of the Tournament) @ 100/1