UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying: Italy vs Finland preview

Italy are still working on getting the forgiveness of their fans after missing out on the 2018 World Cup, and they start their campaign to qualify for Euro 2020 with a home match against Finland at Dacia Arena in Udine on Saturday evening. The two nations are in Group J,m alongside Greece, Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Liechtenstein. These two sides have last clashed in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2004 and at that time Italy won both matches 2-0. Italy have won seven of the eight competitive matches they played against Finland, while the Scandinavians have only managed to win one of the five friendlies.

Italy failed to redeem themselves after having failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, they changed the head coach but new boss Roberto Mancini was unable to lead the team to glory in the UEFA Nations League. However, the Italians did avoid relegation to the second tier of the competition as they finished second in their group behind winners Portugal but ahead of last-placed Poland. They have won just three of their nine matches since Mancini took charge, and two of those wins were in friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and the United States of America. Nicolo Zaniolo, Leonardo Pavoletti, Armando Izzo have been called up to the national team for the first time, while Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne has picked up a knock and is expected to miss out.

Finland have never qualified for a final tournament of a major international competition, but this time they might have a chance as they will be sent to the play-offs if they fail to finish inside the top two of this group. They played in the third tier of the UEFA Nations League last year and they managed to win their group against the odds, they won four of their six matches and finished ahead of Hungary, Greece and Estonia. They have played two friendly matches in January, starting with a 1-0 victory over Sweden and ending with a 2-1 defeat against Estonia.

Probable line-ups:

Italy: Donnarumma - Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Biraghi - Barella, Jorginho, Verratti - Chiesa, Quagliarella, Bernardeschi

Finland: Hradecky - Granlund, Toivio, Arajuuri, Uronen - Lod, Schuller, Sparv, Soiri - Pukki, Lappalainen

My prediction: Italy to win 2-0, it will be a tricky match for the home side but they should be able to get all three points.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Italy win - 1.30
Draw - 5.50
Finland win - 13.00

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe


    Surely Italy will not repeat their mistake from the last World Cup qualifiers and miss another huge event, more so their group is not so tough now with a lot of decent European sides but not anyone among the top teams. of the continent.
    They've made the perfect start and that haven't been of any surprise when we have in mind the opponents they've had fto ace so I'm pretty confident Italy will top that group without too much trouble in the end.

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