Italy v Costa Rica: Abject defences points to both teams scoring

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The two winners from Group D, one expected the other less so, do battle in the second round of fixtures with the chance of foraging a clearer path to the World Cup’s knockout stage.

Italy are the team most likely to do that, according to Ladbrokes’ match betting market, with the company pricing them as 8/15 favourites to win. The draw is available at 16/5, while Costa Rica are 11/2 to double their points tally.

Away from that market though, we’ve found the best three bets to consider for the clash:

Both teams to score @ 1/1

This isn’t a vintage Italian side, in terms of their defensive ability, by any means. Only one of their last nine internationals has seen the country that invented Catenaccio keep a clean sheet.

A both-teams-to-score punt would have landed in 13 of their last 17 games, while Costa Rica are similarly prone to goal concession.

They’ve gone 11 straight games without stopping the opposition from scoring and are currently embroiled in a four-game both-teams-to-score streak.

Italy to score first @ 4/9

In stunning Uruguay with a 3-1 win in their first group game, Jorge Pinto’s men came from behind. It wasn’t the first time they’ve had to rally from conceding the first goal of the game – something they’ve developed a knack for recently.

Their opponents have found the net first in five of Costa Rica’s last seven matches, while Italy have taken a 1-0 lead in all three previous internationals in which they’ve bagged.

Italy to win by one goal @ 5/2

While their defensive work may not be living up to their stereotype, Italy aren’t letting pigeon-holers down completely by ensuring their wins are coming by a slim margin.

Five of the Azzurri’s last six victories have been sealed by a single goal.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.