Friday 7 Sep

Italy vs Poland - Match Preview

06 Sep 2018 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL: UEFA Nations League, League A, Gr. 3
INTERNATIONAL: UEFA Nations League, League A, Gr. 3

Italy

  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D

vs

Kick-off
18:45 GMT
07 September 2018

Poland

  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Kick-off
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.

STATS

  • Italy were one of the surprise omissions from the World Cup in Russia as they failed to win their play-off which would’ve guaranteed them a place at the tournament. They’ve won just one of their last seven international fixtures, a record which is considerably worse than you’d expect from Italy. That win was against Saudi Arabia, who showed that they weren’t much better following some poor displays in Russia.
  • Poland were tipped by many to be one of the dark horses at the World Cup but they crashed out in the group stages. A 2-1 loss to Senegal and a 3-0 defeat against Colombia were enough to send them packing despite beating Japan 1-0 in their final group game. They have won just three of their last nine matches which is surprising after such a good qualifying campaign.
  • Italy have quite a few strong attacking options they could select for Friday’s match, Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile will be expecting to start for the Azzurri.
  • Poland have one of the best strikers in world football in their ranks and after putting a disappointing World Cup behind him, Robert Lewandowski will be hoping to find his scoring boots again.

HEAD TO HEAD

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.

ITALY NEWS

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

04.06.2018 Int. Italy Netherlands 1:1 D
01.06.2018 Int. France Italy 3:1 L
28.05.2018 Int. Italy Saudi Arabia 2:1 W
27.03.2018 Int. England Italy 1:1 D
23.03.2018 Int. Argentina Italy 2:0 L

POLAND NEWS

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

28.06.2018 Worl Japan Poland 0:1 W
24.06.2018 Worl Poland Colombia 0:3 L
19.06.2018 Worl Poland Senegal 1:2 L
12.06.2018 Int. Poland Lithuania 4:0 W
08.06.2018 Int. Poland Chile 2:2 D

SUMMARY

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.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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