With only a day to go before Italy start their Euro 2012 campaign, the Azzurri’s campaign looks in tatters following match-fixing allegations regarding Leonardo Bonucci and Domenico Criscito, as well as the numerous injuries which may force Cesare Prandelli to deploy a three-man defence against Spain this Sunday.
Consequently, many punters will feel that backing Italy to do well may not be a judicious choice, and that none of Prandelli’s men truly have it in them to grab the team by the scruff of the neck and come up with the goods, especially when it comes to scoring goals.
After all, Mario Balotelli, favourite to be Italy’s top scorer at 7/2, is just one moment of madness away from skipping two or more games through suspension, whilst Antonio di Natale and Fabio Borini (priced at 4/1 and 10/1 to do the same) haven’t had the chance to understand Prandelli’s system, and may not even get the playing time to showcase their talent.
Then again, this would be to ignore the pathos which typically characterises Italian World Cup campaigns, or indeed the grit and determination that have characterised a certain Antonio Cassano’s mindset ever since he recovered from a potentially life-threatening embolism, which looked to have ended his career last autumn.
Having top scored for Italy in qualifying with six goals, Cassano is a very good bet indeed to do so again at Euro 2012 and seal the place in football history his talent demands.
The bad boy known for insulting referees, imitating managers and yelling at club presidents seems to have finally turned a corner and realized just how lucky he is to still be playing football, and may finally embrace his potential and lead Italy to success.
Cassano has, after all, already shown that he is more than capable of doing this, picking up from where a sent-off Francesco Totti left off against Denmark at the 2004 European Championship by scoring in the Azzurri’s two remaining group games.
Whilst this wasn’t enough to see Italy through – Denmark and Sweden’s 2-2 draw allowed them to pip Giovanni Trapattoni’s men to the post on goal difference – Cassano’s copious tears painted the picture of a man who had given his all, and who deserved more than just a paltry man of the match award.
Cassano’s importance is hard to underestimate: in a country which had to deal with the untimely death of Piermario Morosini, many managers would have been inclined to go easy on an eventual Fantantonio return.
Max Allegri and Prandelli had other ideas, however, throwing Cassano back in the mix as soon as the MilanLab declared it to be safe.
He was welcomed back with open arms by the players, too: even a man not known for his kind words about anybody (except of course himself) like Zlatan Ibrahimovic went all Notebook cheesy on us by emphasising that nobody in the Milan squad understood him better, or made him play as well, as Fantantonio.
Therefore, having top scored for Italy in qualifying with six goals, Cassano is a very good bet indeed to do so again at Euro 2012 and seal the place in football history his talent demands. At 11/2, the price is right for those bwin customers looking to spend that free £25 bet they were given when they signed up.
For those of you without a calculator, they stand to win £162.50 if the bet proves successful.
Recommended bet: Cassano to be Italy’s top score at Euro 2012 @ 11/2
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