Sweden v England – Andruv stadion, Olomouc at 17:00 live on BT Sport 1
England kicked off their campaign with a defeat as Portugal ran out 1-0 winners in their Group B opener on Thursday night.
Gareth Southgate’s side will be eliminated if they lose this evening and Portugal avoid defeat against Italy. That would replicate the two group exits under Stuart Pearce in 2011 and 2013.
It’s been 31 years since they last lifted the U21 European Championship trophy and came into the tournament as second favourites. They had not lost a game in their qualifying matches, winning 11 and drawing once.
The Young Lions played well but lost against a very good Portugal side. They can still qualify by winning their next two games and first up is Sweden.
Hakan Ericson’s side pulled off a shock, defeating Italy with 10 men in their first game and will be in a confident mood for tonight.
Their win over the Azzurri puts them in a strong position and can’t be underestimated by England. Sweden are a very direct side and use Thelin and Guidetti as a focal point for long balls who can be a handful for any defence.
They didn’t give Italy much space in their half and pressed them quickly when on the ball. England will have to move the ball about quickly and have the players to do so.
It’s not going to be an easy game for England but they are the better side and in a situation they must win.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: England -0.5 @ 1.83
Italy v Portugal – Stadion Miroslava Valenty, Uherske Hradiste at 19:45 live on BT Sport 1
Italy have an uphill task ahead of them if they are to make the semi finals of this years U21 European Championships. They lost their opening match to group outsiders Sweden despite taking the lead. An 86th minute winner by the Swede’s has left the Azzurri as big underdogs to qualify from Group B.
Italian coach Luigi Di Biagio was full of regrets after their loss and has promised to make some changes. His sides lack of ambition in going for the second goal when 1-0 up ended up costing them.
Their opponents Portugal are in a good position having beaten Group favourites England in their opener. Rui Jorge’s side were very impressive in an organised and well-oiled display against the Young Lions.
Portugal can seal a place in the semi finals with a win this evening and are 2.4 to defeat the Italians, a price that screams value after their performance against England.
Rui Jorge will not underestimate the task ahead of him tonight, knowing that Italy have one of the strongest back lines in the tournament. He will also be aware of their counter-attacking abilities but will have the belief they can chalk up another win.
Portugal’s to win price is on the big side in my eyes, but the question is can they break down Italy’s strong defence. I think they have enough quality to do so but backing them on the Asian Handicap betting market -0.25 will give us half our stake back if it was to end in a draw.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Portugal -0.25 @ 1.98
Prices correct at time of writing.
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