South Africa vs Italy Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview
Joe Allison/Getty. Pictured: Linda Molthalo.
South Africa vs Italy Odds
|South Africa Odds||+400|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-106 / -118)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-120 / -120)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
South Africa have found themselves out ahead early in matches before being unable to close out games with a win. Still looking for their first World Cup win, they hold a lot of positives if they can manage to finish.
Italy, meanwhile, will have to find their footing again after a 5-0 loss to Sweden. In doing so, they can roll into the knockout rounds with a measure of confidence.
Read on for my pick and prediction as South Africa takes on Italy in the Women's World Cup.
South Africa Missing Full Performance
South Africa have started each of their last two group stage games on the front foot, getting out ahead of both Argentina and Sweden with early goals.
But then they’ve sputtered, and at times come to a full stop, allowing opponents to claw their way back into the game. The result has been a 2-1 loss to Sweden and a 2-2 draw with Argentina after losing captain Refiloe Jane. While that draw meant South Africa picked up their first World Cup point in history, a first World Cup win would’ve been much sweeter.
Despite a rough year in which South Africa have won just two games, they entered this World Cup and have proven that – at least at the start of their games – they belong amongst the world’s best. But their defense has struggled late in games, and against Argentina the Banyana Banyana allowed their opponents to dominate 61% of possession.
Still, it points to South Africa being more efficient on the offensive side of the ball, with both teams having recorded the same number of shots and Argentina having just one more shot on goal. They were also nearly even on corners, meaning that South Africa were creating good scoring chances on their end.
Starting will not be an issue for South Africa against Italy, rather it’ll be whether or not they can finally finish a game that will be the deciding factor.
Italy Looking For Rebound Performance
To put it simply, Italy got picked apart by Sweden.
In a tournament that has featured relatively close games, Sweden ran up the score on Italy in a dominating 5-0 win. They nearly doubled the Italians' shots and more than tripled their shots on goal. Italy had just two shots on target, despite dominating possession (54%) and completing more passes (467 to Sweden’s 405). They also committed fewer fouls than Sweden, with just one.
A 1-0 win over Argentina means that Italy need to just draw or win in order to advance to the knockout rounds, but they would do well to garner some momentum before facing off against the Netherlands in the round of 16. Winning their group is out of the question, unless they can manage to find the back of the net 10 more times than Sweden in their final game.
This is a side that has some quality wins this year, including over World Cup shockers Columbia, co-hosts New Zealand and South Korea. They’ve also featured in close, one-goal losses to England and Brazil. They’re battle-tested, but they will run up against a different challenge in South Africa. Locking down Thembi Kgatlana and Hildah Magaia will be key, as well as continuing to press even if South Africa go up early, if Italy want to come out with the win.
South Africa vs Italy Pick
While Italy have one win under their belt in this World Cup and South Africa don't, the Banyana Banyana have shown great promise in their first two group stage games. Going up 1-0 against Sweden is something that few teams can accomplish, and they were looking good against Argentina until late in the game.
If Italy want to win this one, they’ll score early and keep South Africa from doing so. Conversely, if South Africa want to win, they’ll replicate what they’ve done in earlier matches – adding the finishing power that has eluded them thus far. One deciding factor could be the status of Jane, South Africa's captain, with coach Desiree Ellis saying that she will wait until the "very last minute" before deciding on her status.
"Of course, her knowledge is very valuable. She's played in Italy and played there for a while now, and one of her [Sassuolo] teammates [Benedetta Orsi] is playing in the Italian team as well," Ellis said. "Her information has been very, very useful. And we used a lot of that, but also our own analysis, to profile the Italian team. And, hopefully, our plan will come together tomorrow."
Even if Jane is unable to go, I think that South Africa can manage to close out this game and pick up a big upset victory.
The Pick: South Africa 3 – Italy 1 (South Africa ML, +400 via bet365)