Italy have won the World Cup four times and Sweden’s best effort was reaching the final in 1958. If pedigree counts for anything Italy should overcome a one goal deficit in their return playoff fixture tonight and qualify for the finals in Russia next summer. Italy have played in the last 14 World Cups and the country would be in mourning if they missed out this time but everything should be fine in Milan tonight.
Italy have not lost one of their last 44 competitive matches at home but on this occasion a draw will not suffice. Sweden won the first match 1-0 and an away goal would upset the apple cart. However, Italy are masters of defending their goal and doing just about enough to get the job done. It will be close and the tie could go into extra-time but ITALY must be backed at 8/15 with Ladbrokes to win the fixture.
There is a common theme in the playoffs so far which is tight matches and a lack of goals. There is so much at stake that protecting the goal is more important than scoring at the other end. The bookmakers have caught up with the lack of goals such is that there is value going the other way so a decent bet is over 2.5 goals in tonight’s crucial fixture at 6/4 with William Hill.
Whisper is the horse that almost took advantage when Might Bite tried to throw away the RSA Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Might Bite ran an impressive trial for the King George at Sandown yesterday and Whisper runs at Kempton today (3.30pm). It’s a match against the useful Clan Des Obeaux who has won a Grade 2 novice chase. However, WHISPER won over hurdles at the highest level and can translate that form to win this graduation chase (4/9 with Betfair).
For a Monday there is a decent novices’ hurdle on the card (1.50pm) that features a number of promising horses. Come next March at Cheltenham this could be a key trial and the winner will be decent. SECRET INVESTOR is an expensive purchase from Ireland who ran well in a maiden a year ago. Injury halted progress but the horse is a standout bet today at 9/4 with bet365.