Today's top betting pick comes from the UEFA Nations League with our Italy v England prediction. The match will be played at the San Siro this Friday night on September 23, 2022. It's a replay of last year's Euro's Final when Italy managed to win on penalties after a 1:1 draw in regular time. A lot of things happened since that Final, but both teams share something similar - they've been on a bad run lately. Who will manage to prevail this time, or will we see yet another draw?
Italy In Bad Form And Lots Of Missing Players
Since their surprising triumph at the last Euros, Italy have been on a downward spiral. The side led by Mancini failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, and that's in fact the second World Cup they will miss in a row. Some of you might remember the great Azzurri sides of the 70s, 80s, and the 90s. Italy has always been one of the pillars of world football. To see them miss two World Cups in a row is a major loss for all football fans. A World Cup without Italy is just not the same.
But such is the reality. Italy have managed just 3 wins in their last 14 matches since the Euro 2020 Finals (that was actually played in 2021 due to the Pandemic). Mancini has failed to inject some fresh blood in his lineup. To top it all up, they will be missing a number of important players for this game versus England - Matteo Politano, Marco Verratti, Sandro Tonali, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Lorenzo Insigne.
Sampdoria's highly inconsistent veteran forward Gabbiadini had to be called in an emergency and is expected to lead a three-man forward line with Ciro Immobile and Napoli's new signing Raspadori. Raspadori is in fact a good young player that made a name for himself at Sassuolo last year.
Mancini is expected to stick to his preferred 4-3-3 formation and another debutant is expected to be Milan's new midfield signing Pobega (bought from Torino this summer).
Nevertheless, Italy should be pretty decent in midfield where they can rely on Barella who has been in excellent form for Inter. Jorginho is a solid player in the middle of the park too.
Southgate Running Out Of Time
England breezed through their World Cup Qualifying group. However, they are now winless in their first four Nations League matches, and although it's not the most important competition in the world, the three Lions are not exactly peaking at the right time. In fact, they are the exact opposite. England seems to be digging themselves into a hole just before the World Cup. Their last game was a shock defeat by four goals at home against Hungary, and they did not even score! It was their worst home defeat in over 50 years. Failure to win against Italy tonight will see them drop out of League A of the Nations League.
Rumours are circling that Southgate will be axed after Qatar, unless of course they go on to actually win the World Cup, but I can't really see that happening with Harry McQuire as their starting central defender. For some strange reason, Southgate has kept his faith in one of the worst signings in the history of football as United paid Leicester over 70 million euros for this "services".
“We already played against Italy, we know how formidable the players in the Italian national team are. It’s up to us to respond to the results of the last two meetings and improve.”
Gareth Southgate, speaking to the press ahead of Italy v England
Italy v England Prediction
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