Ten of the available 13 European places for the 2022 World Cup have already been secured, with a total of 12 sides set to compete for the remaining three spots.
Of these teams, European champions Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are the highest ranked, with these two behemoths potentially on course to meet in one of the three play-off finals.
If you fancy Italy to prevail, there are tons of websites in Italy where you can bet on the Azzuri and access the best football betting sites in Europe. We’ll explore some of these in detail below, while asking what to expect if the sides do meet to secure a World Cup place.
When Will the Play-Offs Be Contested?
Both Italy and Portugal have been drawn in World Cup qualifying Path C, with the Azzurri facing North Macedonia and Portugal hosting Turkey in the confirmed semi-finals.
These matches will be contested on March 24th, and World Cup betting enthusiasts will fancy the sides ranked sixth and eighth in the world to prevail.
If both teams do progress and prove the world betting enthusiasts correct, the play-off final will take place on Tuesday 29th March, with the winner assuming their place next winter in Dubai.
Which Sites are the Best for World Soccer Betting?
There’s no doubt that both the Azzuri and Portugal have been handed a tricky route to the World Cup finals, making it hard for punters to seek out real value in the ante-post world betting odds.
However, we’ve selected the Italian betting sites that are best from the perspective of World Cup play-off betting and listed these below:
- Bwin: One of Europe’s market leading betting and World 2022 betting sites, Bwin is hugely popular among punters and offers an average payout of between 91.8% and 94.7%. Bwin is also one of Europe’s most trusted brands and widely respected by bettors.
- William Hill: William Hill is another famous European brand, and one that originated in the UK before expanding overseas. The site offers a broad range of World Cup play-off betting, while its average payout range is between 91% and 95.3%.
- Sisal: Sisal is a popular Italian betting site, and one that offers genuinely competitive World Cup odds. Currently, punters can access average payout rates of between 91.3% and 94.6%, so there’s plenty of value to be had across a broad range of football markets.
- Snai: Another incredibly popular and trusted Italian sports betting brand, Snai combined excellent bonus options with a wide range of payment methods to excellent effect. In terms of average payout rate, punters can expect an average return of between 91.7% and 94.5% for every é1 wagered over time!
The Azzurri v Portugal – A Brief Preview
Presuming that both Italy and Portugal overcome their semi-final opponents (they’re currently odds on to achieve this goal), the question that remains is which team will eventually book their place at the 2022 World Cup?
2020 European Championship winners Italy endured a surprisingly difficult World Cup qualifying campaign, despite remaining unbeaten over the course of their eight games.
Ultimately, consecutive drawn matches against Group C winners Switzerland and a indefatigable Northern Ireland in November cost Italy top spot and automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup, while the Azzurri’s 2-1 defeat to Spain in October’s UEFA Nations League semi-final brought a record 37-match unbeaten run to a shuddering end.
As for 2016 European Championship winners Portugal, they were pipped to first place in qualifying Group A after a final game shootout against Serbia.
In a dramatic contest to decide automatic qualification, the prolific Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic plundered a 90th minute winner as he headed an excellent cross by Dusan Tadic down and into the net.
This was Portugal’s only defeat of the entire qualifying campaign, with the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo unable to produce his usual rescue act.
The Last Word – Who Will Prevail?
Ultimately, the bookies are struggling to separate Italy and Portugal in Path C, with the former arguably the narrow favourites to qualify at an average price of 6/4.
Portugal can be backed at average odds of 13/10, although given that both sides have to qualify from their respective semi-finals, no prices are available for how they’d far in the play-off final.
This highlights the fact that there’s little more than a paper’s width between these two outstanding football sides, with any match that they contest likely to be settled by a single mistake or a moment of brilliance.
For punters, the key is to identify the very best and most competitive ante-post odds, as it will otherwise be hard to find value in the market.