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Italy vs. Croatia Preview

Thursday’s match in Poznan sees Group C leaders Croatia meet Italy, with Slaven Bilic’s side knowing that three points would see them safely into the quarter finals.

The Croats ran out 3-1 winners against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, with Mario Mandzukic scoring twice. The Wolfsburg striker is now a rather generous 26.0 (25/1) with Bodog to win the tournaments golden boot.

Croatia are in good form, having lost just four times in three and a half years. They last met Italy in a friendly back in 2006, and ran out 2-0 winners; a game where Luka Modric scored his first international goal. Modric, who has 8 goals in 55 international appearances, is 8.0 (7/1) with a variety of bookmakers to score at any time.

Croatia are 3.5 (5/2) with Bet Victor to take all the points here, with the draw at around 3.20 (11/5). Italy are favourites to win the game at 2.30 (13/10).

The Italians go into this game having held holders and tournament favourites Spain to a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s early evening kick off. Subsitute Antonio Di Natale scored just four minutes after coming on for Mario Balotelli, though Cesc Fabregas’s equaliser four minutes later meant the spoils were shared. That goal from Di Natale was Italy’s first since their 2-0 win over Poland back in November, which was also the last time they tasted victory.

They went into the tournament on the back of three straight defeats. A loss here would leave them relying on other results in order to progress to the quarter finals.

With Croatia in much better form than their supposed superior opponents, you might want to take advantage of the generous odds available for them to record a narrow victory. Bwin are offering odds of 5.5 (9/2) for Croatia to win with less than three goals scored in the game.

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