Preview - Argentina vs Italy 24 March 2018

Started by Harry85, Mar 23, 2018, 12:35 AM

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International Friendly
Argentina vs Italy
Saturday, March 24th, 2018
03:45am (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: Etihad Stadium

Last five matches form: D D W W L
Average goals per match: 1.0
Average goals against per match: 0.9
Top scorer: Lionel Messi (61)

Last five matches form: W D W L D
Average goals per match: 1.8
Average goals against per match: 0.8
Top scorer: Antonio Candreva and Ciro Immobile (7)

There may be no Premier League football this weekend, but fans in Manchester still have plenty to look forward to as Lionel Messi's Argentina side travel to the Etihad to take on Italy.

It has been some fall from grace for Italy over the past decade or so. King's of the world when bringing home the World Cup trophy from Germany in 2006, the Italians have incredibly failed to even qualify for this year's competition.

Argentina did manage to qualify in the end, but they certainly made a meal of it, requiring a magnificent display from Messi in their final match in order to overcome Ecuador and ensure there place.

Luigi Di Baggio has been placed in temporary charge for Italy ahead of this match-up, but will have to face the best attacking player in the world in Lionel Messi, without his best centre back, as Giorgio Chiellini misses out.

Argentina face defensive problems of their own though with Emanuel Mammana having been ruled out for the season.

The Italians will surely be keen to put on a bold show here following the humiliation of missing out on the finals and are expected to provide a stern test for Argentina.

Unlike in years gone by the strength of the two likely line-ups here lies firmly in the attacking third, as such we think there may well be goals on the cards, with the score draw looking a likely result.

Prediction: Argentina 2 - 2 Italy


Half time: 0 - 0
Full time: 2 - 0
Shots: 9 - 9
Shots on target: 6 - 4
Corner Kicks: 3 - 1
Possession: 56% - 44%

No need for referee Martin Atkinson to reach for his notebook in this friendly encounter at the Etihad.

The absence of Lionel Messi from the Argentina squad certainly seemed to affect the size of the crowd in Manchester with there appearing to be more empty seats than occupied ones. With or without their star man though, Argentina had too much for Italy in the end. Although it did take them a while to get on top.

Man of the match in the first half was probably Italy's out of retirement goalkeeper. Gianluigi Buffon was forced into smart stops in the 15th and 44th minutes, before doing really well to deny Gonzalo Higuaín on the stroke of half time. 0-0 at the break.

Just after half time it should really have been Italy who took the lead. One on one with Wilfredo Caballero in the centre of the box with plenty of time, only Lorenzo Insighe knows how he failed to even hit the target. Bad miss.

The manner in which Italy seemed to pour through this Argentine defence was worrying at times, forcing Caballero into three smart stops as we approached the final quarter of the game.

In the 75th minute Ever Banega gave Argentina the lead. Playing a one-two on the edge of the area before firing a low drive past a wrong-footed Buffon.

In the 85th minute it was all over. Higuaín leading the counter attacking charge into the Italy half before playing in Manuel Lanzini on the left edge of the box. The West Ham man then provided the games moment of real quality to unleash an unstoppable effort into the corner for his first goal for his country. Final score 2-0.

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