Familiar foes Italy, Germany collide shortly

Familiar foes Italy, Germany collide this afternoon

As the Euro 2016 soccer tournament winds down, the heavy hitters are rising to the occasion. Two of those behemoths, in fact, clash in just a few hours.

World champion Germany and steadfast Italy meet at 3 p.m. ET. The winner advances to take on either France or Iceland next week. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Joachim Low’s squad odds of +120 to advance that far, while Antonio Conte’s side enters as a +280 underdog. The over/under goal total rests at two.

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The Germans cruised past Slovakia, 3-0, in their last-16 clash. Remarkably, keeper Manuel Neuer and his defense have yet to concede a goal during the festivities. That could spell disaster for an Italy group that struggles to field game-breaking offensive players in the first place.

Then again, the Azzuri blanked a very stalwart Spain club early in the week. There’s also a certain sort of legacy to preserve here, insofar as Italy’s never succumbed to Germany in tournament action. Low’s bunch beat Conte’s troops in a March friendly, 4-1, but that occurred well before the Azzuri drew up some new tactical plans.

At the end of the evening, will Italy look like the team that recently ran roughshod over Spain and Belgium or the one that registered 16 goals in 10 qualifying contests? Unless center forward Mario Gomez can muster a transcendent performance, we like Germany to halt such an inglorious streak. Either way, though, prepare for a tightly contested affair in Bordeaux.

SATURDAY EURO 2016 FREE PICK: GERMANY +120

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