Russia 2018 kicks off in 211 days, but the tournament has already caused a major upset after it was confirmed that four time World Champions Italy, would miss out on a World Cup for the first time since 1958.
In a heartbreaking international swansong for the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, despite deploying the attacking prowess of Andrea Belotti, Ciro Immobile and Manolo Gabbiadini the Azzurri failed to net once against a Sweden side that were widely perceived to be in decline after the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The result has inevitably evoked an immediate reaction from betting operators, Ladbrokes Alex Apati described it as “a huge shock.”
He added that: “Even with Italy heading into this match a goal down on aggregate, they were still heavily backed to progress. In fact, they were actually favourites to qualify before a ball was kicked this evening.
“If Italy not qualifying wasn’t enough, the 0-0 draw was the icing on the cake for our traders, as this (so often is it the case) was the best possible outcome tonight. No goals scored and no winner in 90 minutes means much less for the bookies to pay out.
“The Italians were 18/1 to win the World Cup but they won’t be missed by us as they were one of the more popular sides to win the competition outright. Perhaps our punters were attracted to the huge odds on the four-time winners lifting the trophy again but their shock exit has set our traders off to a flier before a plane has even touched down in Russia.”
Alistair Gill Sportsbook Commercial Relations lead for Kindred Group told SBC: “Sweden’s win over Italy in the World Cup qualifier was huge for us, Sweden being one of our very biggest markets, as well as some of our most patriotic fans! A win for Sweden usually means a loss for us, but having them at the World Cup is a massive boost.
“I don’t think ‘expected’ is the word, and the Swedes really had to work for it against the former world champions. But, you don’t make it to the World Cup on luck alone and the performance over 2 legs deserved it. Our players in Sweden, however, would tell a different story and the money we saw in this game would suggest it was expected.”
In spite of the failure, Gian Piero Ventura remains in charge of the Italian national team, for now, nevertheless with Carlo Ancelotti available and speculation about Antonio Conte’s future at Chelsea rife, it’s not hard to see why many believe that Ventura’s days as Italy manager are numbered.
Russia World Cup 2018 betting market dynamics and impacts will be discussed and debated at the upcoming ‘Betting on Football 2018’ Conference (#bofcon2018). Click on the below banner for more information…