Monday 10 Sep

Portugal vs Italy - Match Preview

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

Portugal

  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D

vs

Kick-off
18:45 GMT
10 September 2018

Italy

  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

Kick-off
18:45 GMT 10 September 2018

The new UEFA Nations League has been widely received as a great initiative from European football’s governing body. In the biggest game on Monday evening, Italy travel to Portugal in Group A3 which comes after Italy drew 1-1 with Poland in the first game of the group.

STATS

  • Portugal’s World Cup campaign was a real disappointment as they were knocked out in the second round by a rampant Uruguay side following an average group showing. They drew 3-3 with Spain in one of the best games of the tournament before narrowly beating Morocco 1-0 and luckily drawing 1-1 with Iran. They’ve only won three of their last 10 international matches, they managed a 1-1 draw with Croatia last time out.
  • Italy didn’t have the chance to struggle at the World Cup as they didn’t even make the finals in the first place. They finished 2nd in their qualifying group which sent them through to a play-off where they were beaten over two legs by Sweden. Their record is even worse than their upcoming opponents’ as they have won just twice in their last 10 matches. As mentioned, their last game ended 1-1 against Poland.
  • Portugal’s usual talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t in the squad for Monday’s game so they’ll be relying on Andre Silva to provide the goals.
  • Mario Balotelli returned to the squad for Italy but Andrea Belotti is expected to start in the number 9 role against Portugal.

HEAD TO HEAD

Portugal’s record against Italy is absolutely shocking and despite winning the most recent meeting 1-0, they lost the 10 games against the Italians prior to that which goes all the way back to 1980. In the five meetings between the nations in the 21st century, there have been two games that have produced over 2.5 goals and those two are the only two where both teams scored. The last time Portugal beat Italy at home was in December 1976 which most modern-day football fans won’t have a chance of remembering.

PORTUGAL NEWS

After Poland and Italy played out a draw last week, a win for Portugal would give them a great chance of topping the group. Cristiano Ronaldo is the only notable absentee for the Euro 2016 winners but he will be massively missed.

Latest matches: Portugal

06.09.2018 Int. Portugal Croatia 1:1 D
30.06.2018 Worl Uruguay Portugal 2:1 L
25.06.2018 Worl Iran Portugal 1:1 D
20.06.2018 Worl Portugal Morocco 1:0 W
15.06.2018 Worl Portugal Spain 3:3 D

ITALY NEWS

Four points for Italy after two games would put them in the driving seat in Group A3 but a loss will see them looking at relegation. Roberto Mancini has a fully available squad which should benefit his side in their chase for three points.

Latest matches: Italy

07.09.2018 UEFA Italy Poland 1:1 D
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

SUMMARY

Portugal’s home advantage should make them clear favourites to win this match but it’s not as simple as that, especially without their main man. With the two sides being of very similar quality with poor recent records, a draw looks like the most likely outcome. Both teams to score should come in with strong attacking line-ups while you could also back the match to end as a draw to increase the odds.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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