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Underdogs England looking for a superhero against Italy

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England v Italy (7.45pm KO, Live on BBC1)

England are 2.88 shots with Paddy Power  to win in 90 minutes and book their place in the semi-final.

Italy can be backed at 3 with Boylesports, with the draw a 3.1 shot with Paddy Power.

As far as the stats are concerned the Three Lions have managed just one win from their last nine games against Italy (D2, L6).Their last clash saw them lose a friendly in Leeds 2-1 in March 2002.

They have met at European Championship finals just once before, with Italy winning a group game in 1980 1-0.

Italy also have the better form when it comes to quarter-final encounters in major championships.

They have only been knocked out two of the nine occasions that they have reached this stage – both times on penalty kicks.

That’s much better than England who have lost 7 out of 10 when playing in the last 8.

However on current form there is little to choose between the two sides in what is likely to be a low-scoring affair.

Both base their play around having a strong defence, and in it would be no surprise to see what promises to be a real tactical battle go into extra time.

However England would certainly not want it to go to penalties as they have won just 1 of their 6 previous shoot-outs at major tournaments, when beating Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 1996 after a 0-0 draw.

What is important is that they get more shots on target in a bid to get that vital opener which could well seal victory.

Roy Hodgson’s men did not register a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes against Ukraine, and that is simply not good enough.

Wayne Rooney, who marked his return to action with a goal in that game,has now scored 29 international goals and needs one more to go joint-fifth on England’s list of top scorers.

He is 6.5 shot with bet365  to score first, with Danny Welbeck next best in as far as England are concerned on 10 with the same firm and Boylesports.

Andy Carroll is a 12 chance with Paddy Power, while Steven Gerrard – who has been outstanding so far – is a top priced 15 with bet365 and Betfred.

Defenders Joleon Lescott and John Terry, who are always a threat at set-pieces, can be backed at 31 with Betfred and 34 with bet365 and Paddy Power respectively.

In the hope that England can get the job done in normal time, I am going to suggest backing them to do so 1-0 in the correct score market at 7 with Paddy Power.

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Charlie is an accomplished journalist specialising in football, but with extensive interest across every and all sports, and their intersection with the betting industry. Previously published on leading brands such as 90min and Checkd Media, and formerly a first-class Sports Journalism graduate at UCFB Manchester.