England, predictably, are favourites at a top price of 6-4, but an Italian victory is only a 15-8 chance (Ladbrokes), with a draw at 2-1. British punters, of course, have enjoyed numerous examples of the potent weaponry at Cesare Maldini's disposal during the current Premiership campaign, and while the odds on a game such as this will always have a slight "patriotism factor" built in, in this instance it will be negligible.
As a result, the standard value-seeker's option - oppose England - is less attractive than usual, and the advice must be to either enjoy the match without the need for a bet, or to back the draw, which is the outsider of the three options and yet, some would argue, the most plausible. Meetings of such importance at international level, between two apparently well- matched teams, will always be cautious affairs, and a low-scoring, indeed possibly scoreless, stalemate is a distinct possibility.
After Lennox Lewis's bizarre victory over Oliver McCall, William Hill quote odds of 500-1 if Lewis can unify the heavyweight division by 18 May 1998.
ENGLAND v ITALY: Best prices: 6-4 England (Hills), 7-4 Italy (Ladbrokes), 2-1 draw (Coral).Reuse content