International Friendly: Italy vs Argentina preview

A long-time rivalry will have a new chapter written on Friday as Italy play Argentina at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The Argentinians prepare for the 2018 World Cup, while the Italians will face their most difficult summer in 60 years as they failed to qualify for the final tournament. The two nations have last met in 2013 in a friendly match and Argentina won in 2-1, Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega scored for the winners while Lorenzo Insigne reduced the arrears for Italy.

Italy are going through a transition phase, head coach Gian Piero Ventura got sacked after failing to qualify for the World Cup and Luigi Di Biagio took charge as an interim head coach until the Italian Football Federation sort out their ideas. In fact, Italy have not played any friendly matches since the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign, this will be their first chance to score some points with their disappointed fans. Giorgio Chiellini has been pulled out of the squad due to an injury and was replaced by Angelo Ogbonna.

Argentina have been in great danger of missing the 2018 World Cup as well, they barely managed to qualify as they finished third in the South American World Cup qualification group. They have won just seven of their eighteen qualification matches, and that is not nearly good enough for a team that dreams of winning the World Cup. In November they recorded a 1-0 victory over Russia in a friendly match, but three days later they got hammered 4-2 by Nigeria. Eduardo Salvio has withdrawn from the squad due to a knee injury, while Marcos Rojo and Sergio Aguero are fitness doubts.

Probable line-ups:

Italy: Buffon - Florenzi, Bonucci, Rugani, Darmian - Candreva, Verratti, Parolo, Insigne - Immobile, Belotti

Argentina: Romero - Mercado, Fazio, Otamendi, Tagliafico - Biglia, Paredes - Meza, Messi, Di Maria - Higuain

My prediction: Argentina to win 2-1.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Italy win - 4.00
Draw - 3.50
Argentina win - 2.04

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe


    Argentina look forward to the World Cup while the Italians would be desperate in this to prof to the world that they should of been there too, but for their biggest regret even the win that wouldn't mean something significant.
    I think the odds for Italy are pretty decent so 2-1 their way.

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