18:45 GMT 07 September 2018
The new UEFA Nations League kicks off this week and while football fans get to grips with the new concept, some of the biggest international sides face each other. Italy and Poland meet in one of Group A’s opening fixtures.
Meetings between these two nations have been very few and far between with just two coming in the 21st century. The most recent, in November 2011, ended 2-0 to Italy whilst Poland won 3-1 in the fixture prior to that one. Both teams have scored just once in the eight previous meetings which dates all the way back to a 2-2 World Cup draw in 1980. There have been over 2.5 goals in just two of those eight games, however, both have come within the last three matches between the sides.
It’s very likely to be a strong side that Roberto Mancini will field in his first game in charge and Giorgio Chiellini will be glad to come back into the squad after almost a year out. There will also be some faces in the Italian camp as Cristiano Biraghi and Alessio Cragnio have been called up.
Latest matches: Italy
Eight of the Polish squad currently play their domestic football in Serie A so they’ll be familiar with the opposition. Lewandowski retains the captaincy and will lead the line in Bologna. Latest matches: Poland
Latest matches: Poland
It’s hard to pick a winner in this clash between two well-established footballing nations but despite missing out on the World Cup, Italy are favourites due to home advantage. The best possible way for them to bounce back from a few disappointing years is to go into the next tournament in good form, which can begin here in the UEFA Nations League. It would be wise to back a home win as well as both teams to score.
07 September 2018 - 18:45 GMT
Share your opinion about this preview by leaving a comment below.