6th of September 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Two teams looking for redemption clash at Renato Dall'Ara Stadium in Bologna on Friday evening, when Italy host Poland in their first match of the UEFA Nations League campaign. They are in Group 3 alongside Portugal, and only the team which finished at the top of the group table qualifies for the final tournament of the Nations League. The two teams have not met since a friendly match in 2011, which Italy won 2-0. The last competitive matches between the two nations were played in the qualifying campaign for the 1998 World Cup, and back then Italy won 3-0 at home after a goalless draw in Poland.
Italy start the long road towards redemption on Friday, their fans won't forgive them very soon after having missed out on the World Cup final tournament for the first time in over fifty years. New head coach Roberto Mancini will be hoping to get off to a winning start in the Nations League, but so far he has only won one of the three friendly matches he played and that was against Saudi Arabia. Mancini has included some youngsters in his squad as he is trying to build for the future, but experienced defenders like Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are still the core of the team.
Poland were hoping for great results at the 2018 World Cup this summer but their fans ended up by being bitterly disappointed after defeats against Senegal and Colombia and a futile 1-0 victory over Japan. Former international midfielder Jerzy Brzeczek was chosen to replace head coach Adam Nawalka after the World Cup, and this will be his first match in charge. He has called up six potential debutants to the squad, but probably none of them will get to be in the starting eleven ahead of the more experienced players.
Italy: Donnarumma - Zappacosta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Criscito - Bonaventura, Jorginho, Benassi - Chiesa, Belotti, Insigne
Poland: Szczesny - Berezynski, Glik, Bednarek, Rybus - Krychowiak - Klich, Zielinski, Linetty - Milik, Lewandowski
My prediction: Italy to win 2-1, it should be a tight match but he home side is stronger and should be more motivated as well.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Italy win - 1.75
Draw - 3.50
Poland win - 6.00
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