UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifier: Serbia v Italy

Serbia Vying For Last Qualifying Spot in Group C

On October 7, 2011, Serbia will play Italy at the Stadion FK Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade as part of the UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifiers. When the two met at Genoa last time, Serbian fans caused a riot and the match was abandoned. Due to the riot, Serbia was penalized and Italy was awarded a 3-0 win by UEFA.

With Serbia hosting at Belgrade this time, will the Serbian fans tame down? Certainly, they will have a lot of superlatives to shout at the Italian squad, and maybe the home court advantage good bring a much-needed win. Serbia doesn’t have a perfect home record, and they’ve seen a loss to Estonia and a draw with Slovenia at other Group C qualifiers held at Belgrade. Italy already qualified for Euro 2012 and is the Group C leader. Whether Italy wins or loses at Belgrade will not matter much as they are sure to finish first already.

Serbia, meanwhile, could earn the qualifying spot with a win over Italy or if they hold a draw and Estonia does not defeat Northern Ireland.  Anything less, than a win by Estonia will result in their elimination. But first, Serbia cannot lose.

Serbia needs this game more than Italy, which usually means one of two things. Either they will come out with a sense of determination and cruise to victory or they’ll crumble under the pressure and suffer a disappointing defeat. The Beli Orlovi will have to deal with a stringent Azzurri defense that has only given up one goal in eight group games so far. They have to maintain possession in the early going and use a steady build up to create chances. It’s important for Serbia to remember that the game is virtually meaningless to Italy. So if they go into the match with the attitude that they’re going to outwork them for all 90 minutes, it should eventually yield positive results.

Battle of two great players

Zoran Tosic has scored seven goals in 35 games for the Serbian team, including two during the current group stage. The creative midfielder plays his club ball for CSKA Moscow and spent a short time with Manchester United earlier in his career. It will be up to him to jump-start the offense in the early going. Serbia must come out on the attack and certainly can’t afford to concede an early goal. He scored in the 23rd minute in the team’s last match against Faroe Islands, and they could use another quick goal from him on Friday.

Giuseppe Rossi returned the the lineup for Villarreal over the weekend after missing time due to injury and he scored from the penalty spot. The American-born striker has become the Azzurri’s most consistent offensive threat over the past couple months. Perhaps his best attribute is his willingness to unleash a shot from anywhere. The ball comes off his foot like it was shot out of a cannon, and that keeps goalkeepers on their toes throughout the entire match. Unless Prandelli holds him out for precautionary reasons, he’ll be a handful for the Serbian defense.

Betting opportunities

Despite this match is extremely hard to predict I would call a home win here (odds around 2.30) and I would go against what public says here with overish total number of goals (over 2.0 @ 1,90 is a good value here), which is caused probably of well known Azzurri’s defensive gamestyle. Hopefully, this time the fighting and action will be done on the pitch for a full 90 minutes, and not at some riot.

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