Italy vs Rep of Ireland – Stronger squad to lead to Italian win

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The Republic of Ireland may have triumphed in their last three matches, but the absence of a number of their star players means that they are unlikely to avoid defeat in their friendly against Italy.

Giovanni Trapattoni’s men followed up on their Carling Nations Cup victories over Northern Ireland and Scotland with a solid success in Macedonia as part of their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

This good form means that the Republic of Ireland could be overpriced at 4/1 to beat Italy in Liege, although they have a squad that is largely depleted.

David Forde will be handed a debut in goal as a replacement to Shay Given, while Robbie Keane, who has scored five goals in these three victories, is out with a groin problem.

Aiden McGeady has been allowed to return to Spartak Moscow for some important Russian league matches, while Kevin Kilbane, John O’Shea and Keith Fahey are further absentees.

Italy’s odds are 8/11 to win the friendly and have some of their own injury and suspension troubles, with the likes of Thiago Motta, Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli all not selected.

However, Italy have also won their last three games and their unbeaten run has seen them take full control of Group C in Euro 2012 qualifying.

First Goalscorer

One of the big positives for Italy is the strike force that they can call upon, with Giuseppe Rossi and Giampaolo Pazzini both more than likely to find the scoresheet.

Rossi has scored in Italy’s last two games and is 9/2 to strike first against the Republic of Ireland, while Pazzini can be backed at 5/1 in the same market.

Andy Keogh is expected to start in place of Keane and is 10/1 to be the first goalscorer against Italy, although Shane Long may prove a better bet at 8/1.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.