Italy will once again have the opportunity to shine on home soil when they entertain Wales at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in the final round of group matches at Euro 2020.
Despite being one of the most successful teams in international football history, the past few years have seen a real slump from the Italians, and the hope from their perspective is that Euro 2020 is the tournament where they can go a seriously long way into proceedings.
They have a new head coach in Roberto Mancini, and he has already overseen a transition in playing style from the defensive ‘catenaccio’ style that has been their trademark to a more vibrant, attacking philosophy.
Mancini has also brought in a number of younger players, and Italian fans will be hoping that the new generation can bring with them plenty of success.
As for Wales, they too have a legendary player-turned-coach looking to push them forward.
Ryan Giggs will lead them into battle, and with a solid, hard-working squad complimented by the elite-level talent of Gareth Bale, they will be looking to replicate their efforts from Euro 2016, where they reached the semi-finals.
This unique tournament sees a handful of teams enjoying home advantage in their matches, and it will come as no surprise to learn that the hosts are, more often than not, the favourites with the bookmakers to prevail.
And that is the case here in the Italy vs Wales betting odds, with the hosts priced at 1.5 and the visitors farther back at 6.6. The draw is available at 4.3.
The signs in qualifying were incredibly positive for Italy.
They finished top of their group with ten straight wins, scoring an incredible 37 goals along the way. Yes, some of their opposition was below-par, but you can only beat what is put in front of you.
On paper, this is not the strongest Italian squad in history, and yet Mancini has them playing winning football. This could be the last major tournament for Leonard Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and goal machine Ciro Immobile, but for others – from Gianluigi Donnarumma to Nicolo Barella and Federico Chiesa – this is just the beginning of what could be a successful future.
In contrast, Wales scraped through their qualifying campaign by just one point from Slovakia and two ahead of Hungary, and while they played well in front of their own supporters they were suspect on the road – which they will be here in Italy.
Other than Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, this Welsh squad generally plays its club football at the lower level of the English Premier League and the Championship, and so it is expected that they will struggle here.
As such, our Wales vs Italy predictions have to focus on the strength of the hosts in this encounter.
The only thing going for Wales here is that they are defensively resolute and well-drilled, which is an overspill from their successful Euro 2016 campaign.
The Italian squad features plenty of technically proficient players but – Immobile aside – not many natural goalscorers, and referring back to their qualification campaign it’s worth noting that in their goal-heavy campaign nearly two-thirds of their haul came against the woeful Liechtenstein and Armenia.
These ideas feed nicely into our Wales vs Italy betting tips, where we’re expecting the hosts to win a low-scoring encounter.