Preview - Italy vs Poland 08 September 18

Started by Harry85, Sep 06, 2018, 04:26 AM

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Uefa Nations League Group A
Italy vs Poland
Saturday, September 8th, 2018
03:45am (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium:  Renato Dall'Ara

Last five matches form: L D W L D
Average goals per match (last ten games) : 0.80
Average goals against per match (last ten games): 1.00
Top Scorer: Mario Balotelli (14)

Last five matches form: D W L L W
Average goals per match (last ten games): 1.50
Average goals against per match (last ten games): 1.30
Top Scorer: Robert Lewandowski (55)

For a country with as rich a footballing heritage as Italy, it will have certainly hurt to miss out on this summers World Cup Finals. The Italians are a proud nation though and seem likely to bounce back sooner rather than later.

Poland did make the finals, but the less said about their performance in Russia the better as they slumped to an extremely disappointing group stage exit.

Don't be surprised to see Roberto Mancini continue to experiment with this Italy side as he attempts to overhaul/reinvent Gli Azzuri, especially considering there are no fewer than seven first time call ups in the squad.

Times are changing in Poland too. That poor showing in Russia was enough to spell the end of the reign of manager Adam Nawalka. New man at the helm, Jerzy Brzeczek takes charge for the first time here. There are a clutch of new faces in this Poland side too as it seems to be out with the old and in with the new for Brzeczek.

These sides have met 14 times in the past. Italy winning five to Poland's three with six draws. The latest of those meetings came back in 2011 though.

There's not much between these sides in the standings, with Italy ranked 21st to Polands 18th.

Two sides in a period of transition here, we just prefer the look of the Italian squad on paper though, which in combination with home advantage can see them come out on top.

Prediction: Italy  3 - 2 Poland


Half time: 0 - 1
Full time: 1 - 1
Shots:  12 - 7
Shots on target: 4 - 4
Corner Kicks: 7 - 6
Possession: 58% - 42%

Giorgio Chiellini was booked for Italy in this one. Referee Felix Zwayer also taking the names of Poland's Mateusz Klich, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Fabianski.

A fairly even first half saw both sides threaten to take the lead. Piotr Zielinski seeming certain to score when played clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat from around eight yards. Gianluigi Donnarumma held his ground though and was equal to the task.

The game was quite bitty at times with the majority of Italy's chances coming via efforts from range.

It was Poland who nosed their way in front in the 40th minute. Robert Lewandowski finding time and space on the left-hand side of the eighteen yard box and dinking a nice cross towards the far post to find Zielinski arriving at the far post. No mistake from the Napoli man this time as he finished first time on the volley into the bottom right corner. 0-1 at the interval.

Poland nearly doubled their advantage at the start of the second half. A deflected Jakub Blaszczkowski effort dropping into the path of Lewandowski with the goal gaping. The front man was caught a little off balance though and blazed over.

Italy really began to turn the screw from that moment on as they pursued an equaliser.  Lukasz Fabiankski forced into making a few smart stops.

The leveller came from the spot in the 78th minute. Even watching it back this still looks to have been a perfectly good tackle from Blaszczkowski as he seemed to take the ball. The referee was having none of it though and awarded the penalty kick.  Jorginho finishing in trademark style into the left-hand side.

1-1 final score.

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