Italy will host England in the UEFA Nations League on Friday, looking to pick up a morale-boosting victory in front of their home fans.
Roberto Mancini’s men are still in with a chance of making it to the finals of the UEFA Nations League, but they are under pressure to pick up a win here. Meanwhile, England head into this contest on the back of some disappointing performances, and they are winless in their four group games in the UEFA Nations League.
The Three Lions have next to no chance of making it to the finals of the competition, but they can still look to dent Italy’s hopes by beating them at San Siro on Friday. The Azzurri picked up a win over England in the final of the European Championships not so long ago, and Gareth Southgate’s men will be looking to avenge the defeat here.
The reverse fixture between these two sides ended in a goalless draw, and it remains to be seen who comes out on top here.
Apart from their results, England have been quite mediocre in terms of their performance recently, and Southgate’s men have been booed off the pitch in the recent outings. The visitors will be determined to get back into their rhythm ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and a win over Italy could give them a substantial confidence boost.
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— Italy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Azzurri_En) September 19, 2022
Roberto Mancini will be without the services of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti for the game against England. Furthermore, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Matteo Politano have withdrawn from the squad with knocks.
Italy are likely to field a back-three, with Leonardo Bonucci, Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni lining up at the heart of the defence against England. Gianluigi Donnarumma is expected to start between the sticks for the Azzurri at his former stomping ground.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Emerson Palmieri are expected to start as the wing-backs, and the central midfield unit will comprise of Sandro Tonali, Jorginho and Nicolo Barella.
Tonali will be expected to break up the play for Italy, and Jorginho will keep the play ticking and recycle the possession. Meanwhile, Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella will add the technical ability and creativity in the middle of the park and drive his team forward. Gianluca Scamacca is expected to lead the line for Italy, forming the strike partnership with Ciro Immobile.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Donnarumma; Bonucci, Acerbi, Bastoni; Lorenzo, Tonali, Jorginho, Barella, Palmieri; Scamacca, Immobile
Gareth Southgate will be without the services of Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Pickford because of injuries. It will be interesting to see if the England head coach is willing to give Jude Bellingham a start in place of the Manchester City midfielder.
Meanwhile, Nick Pope should start in goal in the absence of the injured Pickford. The Three Lions are expected to line up in a 3-4-3 formation, with John Stones, Eric Dier and Harry Maguire forming the back three.
Neil Ryan has named a 23-man squad for three Pinatar Tournament fixtures in September.
— England (@England) September 16, 2022
Reece James and Kieran Trippier are expected to be deployed as the wing-backs, and West Ham United captain Declan Rice should partner Bellingham at the heart of England’s midfield against Italy on Friday.
Italy have more quality in the middle of the park, and they are likely to dominate the contest in the midfield battle. Therefore, Southgate must look to start the pairing of Bellingham and Rice so that England can protect their back three and provide ample service to the attackers during transitions.
As for the front three, Harry Kane will spearhead the England attack against Italy. The England captain is likely to be flanked by Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden, with Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount among the alternatives. Ivan Toney will hope to get his England debut off the bench on Friday.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Pope; Stones, Dier, Maguire; James, Rice, Bellingham, Trippier; Foden, Kane, Sterling
- Italy are unbeaten in 20 of the last 29 meetings against England in all competitions.
- The last four matches between these two sides have ended in a draw after regulation time.
- England have not beaten Italy away from home since 1961.
- Italy have conceded a total of nine goals in the last five outings across all competitions.
- England have scored just once in four UEFA Nations League games so far, and they have failed to pick up a single victory in the group stages.
Player to watch
Bellingham has a decent chance of starting against Italy on Friday evening, and he will be desperate to cement his place in the starting lineup with a big performance.
England could use his attacking qualities here, and Bellingham could make a huge difference for the visitors in the middle of the park. The teenage prodigy is already regarded as one of the best young talents in football, and he certainly has the quality to hurt Italy during counter-attacks.
Italy 1-1 England
Both teams have been in poor form in the UEFA Nations League so far, and it will be difficult to separate them here. The last four meetings between these two sides have ended in a draw after normal time, and this one is unlikely to be any different. Italy and England are likely to cancel each other out here, with The Hard Tackle predicting a 1-1 stalemate.