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Italy are understandably strong favourites after a good showing in the group stages, though their positive form stretches back quite some distance now.
Roberto Mancini has led them to a 30-game unbeaten streak, equalling their national team record set almost a century ago, and no one will be underestimating them in the knockout rounds.
They haven’t been reliant upon stalemates to stave off defeat either, winning 24 of their last 27, which includes win to nil successes in each of the past 11 as they’ve plundered 32 goals.
After putting three past both Turkey and Switzerland, Italy could only find the net once against a determined Welsh outfit, though it was a heavily rotated side that took to the field in their final group game as Mancini made eight changes to the line-up.
He’ll undoubtedly return to his best eleven here, though Marci Verratti may well keep his place after looking sharp on his return from injury, even if it would be a tad harsh on Manuel Locatelli to miss out after staring in their opening two games.
Italy To Win To Nil
Austria took second place in their group with a deserved 1-0 win over Ukraine in their final group game, but they’ve only won three of nine matches now as they’re not the most consistent of teams.
They’ve failed to score in four of the last six, losing games to Denmark, England and the Netherlands, with those the best teams they’ve faced of late.
In fact, going back to November 2016, 10 of Austria’s 12 defeats have seen them draw a blank, with the exceptions against lesser sides Israel and Romania.
It’s hard to look past another Italian victory accompanied by a clean sheet then, especially with Giorgio Chiellini back available after a minor complaint kept him out of the clash with Wales.
The Azzurri have allowed their opponents a meagre 1.4 expected goals in three games, at an average of 0.47 per outing, so expect Austria’s Marko Arnautovic to be feeding off scraps.
Ciro Immobile To Score Anytime
After netting in both of Italy’s opening games before being rested for the full 90 minutes against Wales, Ciro Immobile is sure to come back into the line-up here.
With nine goals in his past nine appearances for club and country combined, he’ll fancy his chances of further adding to his tally this summer.
Austria only have two clean sheets from their past 10 matches, against Slovakia and Ukraine, so the Italians should carve out enough opportunities to feed their main striker.