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World Cup Betting Preview: Italy vs. Brazil

Italy will look to continue their magical run at this year’s Women’s World Cup when they conclude the group stage of the tournament Tuesday against Brazil. The betting odds for this game are as tight as they get. Brazil is a slight favorite at +135 while Italy is listed at +186 with a draw set at +229.

Brazil has been a little Jekyll and Hyde during their first two games. They were in poor form coming into the tournament but were impressive in their opener, a 3-0 win over Jamaica. However, the Brazilians let a 2-0 lead over Australia slip away in their last game, falling to the Aussies 3-2. They remain in good shape to reach the knockout round, but they need a result against Italy to get their confidence back.

Meanwhile, Italy has already received a ticket to the Round of 16. They are quickly becoming the biggest breakout team of this year’s tournament, beating Australia 2-1 on a late goal and breezing past Jamaica 5-0. The challenge for the Italians now is to handle that success and stay focused against a more established world power.

Are You For Real?

Even after the 5-0 win over Jamaica, it’s fair to ponder whether Italy is the real deal. They were able to beat up on a weaker Jamaica side, but they had some good fortune in their opener against Australia. Goalie Laura Giuliani needed to make six saves, including one on a penalty. Meanwhile, the Italians only had five shots but were able to put three of them in the back of the net.

On the bright side, Italy has three players who have already scored multiple goals in the tournament. They shouldn’t expect to score as easily against Brazil as they did against Jamaica. However, the Italians will be confident on the attack. Even if they can’t muster many scoring chances, they’ve proven that they have the quality to finish those chances.

Somebody Going to Step Up

Brazil is no doubt reeling after their collapse against Australia. To make matters worse, they will be without veteran midfielder Formiga. There is also uncertainty about the health of legendary Marta, who has played just 45 minutes over the first two games. If both Marta and Formiga miss the match, there will be a profound lack of experience and leadership on the field for Brazil. That proved to be problematic during the second half against Australia and doesn’t bode well for their chances against Italy.

The good news for Brazil is that Cristiane has found her form, scoring four goals over the first two games of the tournament. She gives Brazil one player they should be able to count on in such a vital game. But whether the Brazilian back line can hold up after giving up their 2-0 lead against Australia is another matter, even if Cristiane can keep scoring.

Split the Difference

Brazil has been super unreliable lately, but it’s still hard to be completely sold on Italy. The safe bet here is this match ending in a draw, which is a result that should please both teams at this point in the tournament.