Something must give tonight in Manaus – and it will not just be the players’ legs after 90 minutes in the heat and humidity of Amazonia.
Italy have kept only one clean sheet since they qualified for the World Cup in September. England have not scored in three of their last six games. One trend must go, so consider the case for England.
Italy’s rickety defence will be further destabilised by left-back Mattia De Sciglio’s thigh injury and the Azzurri have unwisely decided to leave it to the last minute to head to Manaus to get used to the conditions. England’s manager, Roy Hodgson, seems to have a well-honed plan to cope with Andrea Pirlo.
So it is not just patriotism that tempts us to put £5 on an England win with bet365 at a tasty 2-1. And who will get the goal? Leighton Baines has one of the best left feet at the World Cup. He hit six goals for Everton last season and can expect to take any free-kicks around his flank. At 12-1 to score any time, it would be rude not to have a fiver on him.
Running total: -£10