If you are gambler and if, in particular, you like to put your money on what could be seen as a safe bet, you may now be more than a little concerned about Sunday’s final between Spain and Italy. Germany will have let a lot of people down and not just the German population; 10/3 to win before the tournament began and 6/4 to reach the final, every German performance in the competition has been excellent until last night.
Only Joachim Loew will know why he set his team up to try and contain Andrea Pirlo rather than stick to their previously successful game plan. Rather than starting the game on the front foot and taking the game to Germany, they changed their tactics, allowed Italy to retain the ball and paid the price. Mario Balotelli scored two classy goals, one from a header and one by springing the German offside trap and all Germany could manager was one very late penalty. Check the goals out:
So Italy will go into Sunday’s final against Spain probably wondering how exactly they managed it. The Italians began with odds of 14/1 for the win and 6/1 to reach the final so there will at least be some happy speculative bettors out there. Pirlo again played well last night but you feel that if the Spanish can dominate possession as comprehensively as they normally do then Italy will suffer; if Pirlo can’t dictate the play then Italian chances will be limited. On the plus side, Italy will look to their opening 1 – 1 draw with Spain for some optimism.
Spain have also no doubt disappointed; they may be missing David Villa and Carles Puyol but they also appear to have been sleepwalking through this competition. That they’ve managed to do that all the way to the final does go some way to justifying their tag as pre-tournament favourites at 14/5. They will certainly want to improve on the semi-final performance which saw them sneak past Portugal on penalties and will want to rediscover their goal scoring form to avoid another tedious 120 minutes of football.
If you fancy a late bet, best odds currently are 9/8 for Spain and 16/5 for Italy with the draw at 9/4. That draw might not be a bad shout.