Italy vs MaltaEuro 2024, KO: 19:45 Oct 14, 2023, Stadio San Nicola
ITALY continue their quest to qualify for Euro 2024 with a home match against Malta at the Stadio San Nicola on Saturday night.
After conquering the continent at the rearranged Euros back in 2021, the Azzurri inexplicably failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after being stunned by North Macedonia in a pulsating playoff.
Roberto Mancini has since swapped the international scene for the riches of the Saudi Pro League, with Luciano Spalletti being appointed as his successor in August of this year.
The former Napoli boss kicked-off his tenure with a 1-1 draw to North Macedonia before steering his side to narrow 2-1 win over Ukraine, a pair of results that have moved the Italians into joint second spot in what is looking a fiercely competitive scrap to finish runners-up to group leaders England.
As for group minnows Malta, they are rooted to the bottom of the group having lost each of their opening five matches.
Michele Marcolini's side did manage to land a rare win over Gibraltar in a friendly outing last month, though it would be fair to say they will be in for a much sterner test against the Italians.
This is very much an international mismatch and that is reflected in the odds, with Italy lowly 1/25 favourites with Ladbrokes.
Given Italy's measly price here it's a case of having to get very creative in order to eke out a backable bet, so I'll throw together Italy Half Time/Full Time and Under Five Match Goals at 10/11 with Bet 365.
As already alluded to, the Azzurri's spot at next summer's showpiece is far from secured and that means they simply have no room for error against Malta on Saturday night.
However, Luciano Spalletti's side ought to assert their superiority to make light work of Malta a side that are heading for the wooden spoon after suffering five straight losses.
As such, I'll back the hosts to be leading at the interval before going on to claim top honours, but to boost the odds, I'll also go with under five match strikes.
Admittedly, the Italians are more than capable of running amok against such inferior opposition, however their Maltese guests certainly haven't disgraced themselves in any of their opening five Group Co contests, conceding more than two goals on just one occasion.
What's more, the Italians will likely have one eye on their heavyweight showdown with England at Wembley on Tuesday night, so Spalletti will most likely want to get the job done here with the minimum of fuss.
It's also worth noting that this play would have yielded profit from March's reverse fixture between the pair, not to mention the same combination clicked when Malta entertained England back in June.
With all that in mind, siding with the aforementioned 10/11 (Bet 365) Bet Builder looks worthy of some interest at the Stadio San Nicola on Saturday night.
This Euro 2024 match between Italy and Malta will be played on Oct 14, 2023 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Italy vs Malta prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.