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Italy World Cup 2014 betting: odds to win Group D, predictions

Italy is always a threat when it comes to World Cup odds and the Azzuri are favored to win group D at Brazil 2014. They are 25-1 longshots to win it all.

Claudio Villa

Italy was great in not losing a match in World Cup qualifying and they boast a veteran-laden squad heading to Brazil.

They have the best odds to win Group D this summer and look to avoid their horrible showing at the 2010 World Cup. The Azzuri won the 2006 World Cup and still have a few players from the squad on this summer's roster.

But oddsmakers have them as a 25-1 long shot in Brazil.

The team has a great defense and midfield and a striker in Mario Balotelli, who is temperamental, but is one of the best forwards in the world when he is in top form.

Italy Odds to win World Cup 2014: +2500
Italy Odds to win Group D: +163

Italy is in Group D along with Uruguay, England, and Costa Rica, which may be the second toughest group after the Group of Death.

Italy has been terrific attacking through the air, scoring more than 40 percent of their goals in the qualifying process via headers. The main weakness is the defense on the right side of the field, which is where they gave up most of their goals in qualifying.

In their World Cup tune-ups, the Azzuri have not been impressive with one loss and four draws including a surprising one facing Armenia.

World Cup Prediction for Italy

Italy's toughest match in group play is their last one facing Uruguay, but their first one is just as important facing England. These teams match up well in the midfield, but still think the Italians will come out on top.

They will have no problems beating a Costa Rica squad that has the worst World Cup betting odds to win the tournament. Uruguay is their last match and while they have a great offense their defense is not great and Italy will win.

Italy may meet Spain the quarterfinals and that is a great match, but one that they will not win.

How Italy got to the World Cup

Italy did not lose a single match in the qualifying process with six wins and four draws. They only scored more than two goals in two of their matches and in their last two matches they played to a couple of 2-2 draws.

They were not in a very tough qualifying pool with the Czech Republic being their only real competition and against them they won at home and played to a draw on the road. The Azzuri defense was not great in the matches with only three clean sheets.

World Cup Qualifying Results

07/09/12 Bulgaria 2 - 2 Italy

11/09/12 Italy 2 - 0 Malta

12/10/12 Armenia 1 - 3 Italy

16/10/12 Italy 3 - 1 Denmark

26/03/13 Malta 0 - 2 Italy

07/06/13 Czech Republic 0 - 0 Italy

06/09/13 Italy 1 - 0 Bulgaria

10/09/13 Italy 2 - 1 Czech Republic

11/10/13 Denmark 2 - 2 Italy

15/10/13 Italy 2 - 2 Armenia

World Cup Group Play Schedule

15/06/14 England vs. Italy - Arena Amazonia

20/06/14 Italy vs. Costa Rica - Arena Pernambuco

24/06/14 Italy vs. Uruguay - Arena das Dunas

Team Key Players

Gianluigi Buffon GK Juventus - He was the hero of the 2006 World Cup winning team and has rejuvenated his career and helped Juventus win their third straight Scudetto this season.

Andrea Pirlo MF Juventus - Another holdover from the 2006 team and while he has been nicked up at times this season he is now healthy and one of the best midfielders and playmakers in the world.

Mario Balotelli FW AC Milan - A fantastic striker that causes major problems for any opposing defense if his head is in the match.