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England v Italy: Hodgson’s daring new wave can expel Euros pain

| 14.06.2014

Will it be Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling or maybe even Ross Barkley that gets the nod to start England’s Group D opener against Italy? In truth it shouldn’t matter who Roy Hodgson sends into battle, the Azzurri are there for the taking in Manaus.

In the stifling conditions of the Arena Amazonia (it’s all in the name) England are faced with a quandary, to go for the jugular and risk defeat or sit back, and risk defeat.

Having taken the latter option in their most recent competitive meeting at Euro 2012 – where Andrea Pirlo conducted Italy’s orchestra with a master class – the Three Lions’ leader must surely plump for Plan B this time around.

The general (and correct) consensus is that by utilising the young attacking threats at his disposal, Hodgson will plot his best route to victory.

Much has changed in the England camp since that fateful quarter-final two years ago and for the better, as many emerging talents have displaced the old guard.

Meanwhile, although 2006 world champions Italy will always command respect, they’re a nation who’ve lost their cutting edge in recent times, going seven internationals without a win, which includes a draw against lowly Luxembourg last time out.

In that kind of form, the 2/1 on offer that England’s exuberant cast prevails over Cesare Prandelli’s mob is just too juicy to ignore.

Though Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain’s absence for this game remains a blow, England appear to have a clean bill of health other than the Arsenal man, which is also a crucial factor.

Whereas Italy, who’ve already been robbed of key midfielder Riccardo Montilivo, have also suffered another major setback with the news their first-choice left-back Mattia De Sciglio will not play any part in Brazil after injurying a thigh in training just days ahead of the game.

A draw-no-bet covering shot at 1/1 on England may offer a decent alternative to those who lack the faith however.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.