The Spoiler’s Italy v Croatia and Spain v Rep of Ireland selections

Positive vibes about Italy, faintly upbeat wittering on Irish chances


The swiftly-emerging norm of one successful prediction, one less impressive pick was maintained on Wednesday. Which one of our Thursday choices is less likely to backfire?

Italy v Croatia

As a noted statistic fetishist, you’d expect The Spoiler to be positively orgasmic over the fact that Italy haven’t beaten Croatia in five meetings since 1942.

Instead, we are stubbornly clinging onto our pre-Ireland mauling stance that Croatia are overhyped, repackaged mediocrity while noting that this Italy vintage differs drastically to almost all predecessors.

As the dark-horse stalkers of the continent predicted beforehand, Italy’s utterly rubbish friendly form was rendered irrelevant against Spain. They created several chances against the team who don’t concede at international tournaments, even scoring one, so are eyeing us seductively at 6/4.

The Spoiler says: Trust the nickname-laden lads – Fantantonio, Super Mario and Toto Di Natale – at 6/4
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Spain v Republic of Ireland

With Holland v Germany complete, everyone can focus on what is truly the most anticipated group-stage treat: the clash between possibly the best midfield in the history of football, and their Spanish counterparts.

Irish optimism was cruelly deflated by a 3-1 defeat to Croatia, robbing Euro 2012 of the wackiness of one of the least remarkable line-ups in the tournament heading into clashes with the last two world champions, Spain and Italy, in the ascendancy.

Yet while The Spoiler won’t make a case for Ireland winning (though the Robbie Keane 1-0 scorecast is a sumptuous 225/1) the 11/10 on under 2.5 goals is one relatively-positive-for-Ireland bet to have captured our intrigue.

Spain haven’t scored more than two goals in any of their last nine tournament matches, during which time they have faced some fairly limited opposition like Switzerland and Honduras. Ireland had conceded only three goals in 14 games before allowing Croatia to embarrass them.

The Spoiler says: Bravely back Ireland…to lose no more heavily than 2-0 – under 2.5 goals at 11/10
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