Italy v Wales: First real Azzurri test as they aim to win group

Dave Farrar previews the showdown for Group A supremacy in Rome between Italy and Wales...

So impressive from Italy

It's been a stunning Euro 2020 for Italy so far, so good in fact that you wonder if it's possible for the brilliance to continue. If it does, then Roberto Mancini's team look rock solid at 7.6 to win the thing. Tougher tasks than Turkey and Switzerland lie in wait though, and that arguably starts this weekend against a buzzing Welsh side.

Italy have not yet won the Group, and so I don't think that there's too much question about their motivation here. The Olimpico has felt like such a fortress and there is a feelgood momentum that Mancini will want to keep going. The Azzurri are trading at 1.52 to make it three Group wins out of three.

I think it's time again to take a step back and marvel at Italy's run of form. They are now on a run of 29 games unbeaten, and one more will equal their all-time record. They have won 10 games in a row, and have now gone 965 minutes without conceding. As stated in my preview to the tournament, you can question some of the opposition on that run, but it is still a stellar display.

Could Wales finally breach Italian defence?

I'm pretty sure that someone IS going to score against Italy at Euro 2020, and I'm close to being seduced by the idea that it might be Wales. They were fantastic against Turkey, and really should have scored more than twice, but they were allowed to play against the Turks in a way that simply won't happen against Mancini's side.

Of course, it's tempting to try and picture Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey getting in behind an ageing Italy defence, but I suspect that it won't work like that. Ramsey looked a busted flush last season at Juve, and Bale and even the excellent Dan James hold little fear for a high-quality Italy.

Azzurri on the handicap and Berardi to score

This is the first time that Italy and Wales have met at a major tournament, and I favour Italy to make it three wins out of three in the Group and march into the last 16. The last three times they have played Wales in Italy they have won by an aggregate score of 11-0, and while that isn't a recent representative sample, it does lead me towards the same bet that I recommended in the Italy v Switzerland game, namely for Italy to win, conceding a goal on the Asian Handicap.

We have the insurance of our money back should Italy win by a single goal, and I can't see Wales getting the point that they need to guarantee qualification, although I suspect that the four that they already have will be enough for them to qualify.

Mimmo Berardi has had a sensational tournament so far, and has done everything but score, so I will remain loyal (hopefully not foolishly so) to him here. There's a danger that he won't start of course, but I think that Mancini will gun for the win, and right now, Berardi is in Italy's best team.

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