Uefa Nations League A Group 3
Italy vs Portugal
Sunday, November 18th, 2018
03:45am (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: San Siro
Last five matches form: D D L D W
Average goals per match (last ten games): 0.80
Average goals against per match (last ten games): 1.10
Top Scorer: Giorgio Chiellini ( 8 )
Last five matches form: L D W W W
Average goals per match (last ten games): 1.70
Average goals against per match (last ten games): 1.00
Top Scorer: André Silva (14)
Italy play their final game of the Group Phase in the inaugural UEFA Nations League this weekend, knowing that only a win at home against Portugal will give them any chance of topping the table and making it through to the Championship Playoff phase.
Italy do hold the edge historically in this match-up, with 17 wins to six for Portugal, but it was Portugal who came out on top in the reverse fixture when mastering Italy 1-0 at home in what was a poor contest from the spectators point of view.
Federico Bernardeschi is the only notable absentee for the Italians. Cristiano Ronaldo continues to sit things out for Portugal who must also do without the suspended Pepé and injured André Gomes.
Italy were absolutely desperate in that game in Portugal and will need to drastically increase their levels here. It must be open to debate whether this squad is capable of it though, although a win on the road last time out in Poland is a cause for optimism and being back in front of their own fans will likely help.
The pressure is off Portugal here as they know that even should they lose this game, they will still top the group by avoiding defeat against Poland in their final fixture.
This doesn't have the look of a classic, but the Italians have more at stake, do seem to be slowly, slowly improving and may just edge it.
Prediction: Italy 2 - 1 Portugal
Half time: 0 - 0
Full time: 0 - 0
Shots: 12 - 5
Shots on target: 3 - 1
Corner Kicks: 4 - 3
Possession: 63% - 37%
No goals in this one but the two sides did keep referee Danny Makkelie's card count ticking over. Jorgingho, Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Chiesa seeing yellow for the home side and Ruben Neves, Mario Rui and Joao Cancelo doing likewise for Portugal.
Considering the manner in which Portugal are usually set up, and the fact that they continue to be without Cristiano Ronaldo - in combination with the Italians traditional defensive stability - in hindsight it perhaps wasn't the greatest surprise that we ended up goalless at the San Siro.
If there was a side who deserved to win it on the night it was probably Italy, but having only managed to register three efforts on target in front of their own fans, they can't really claim to have been unlucky.
Italy did have the best of the early action. Lorenzo Insigne powering in an effort from range which was well saved by Rui Patricio and Ciro Immobile firing the rebound over the bar from a tight angle.
Patricio then raced off his line to deny Immobile who had been played clean through by Insigne.
The second half was much more even as Portugal began to come into the game. Neither side really created much in the way of a clear-cut chance though. William Carvalho's low volley from the edge of the area which forced a good save from Gianluigi Donnarumma being just about the best effort from either side.
And so it is Portugal who advance to the Semi-Finals of this inaugural UEFA Nations League competition, and pretty comfortably too, topping the group with a game to spare. This point does at least ensure that Italy are not relegated though, with that fate now have befallen Poland.