Italy face minnows Moldova in the first of a hectic international treble-header. Roberto Mancini has transformed the Azzurri from the humiliation of missing out on the World Cup in Russia and the hosts pose a real threat to the likes of France, Germany and Portugal in upcoming major tournaments.
Where and when: Artemio Franchi, Florence – 7 October, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Italy vs. Moldova: Sky Sports Red Button
Last time: Italy beat the Eastern Europeans 2-1 in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with Alberto Gilardino and Christian Vieri on the scoresheet.
Italy v Moldova Predictions and Preview
Roberto Mancini will use the non-competitive clash with Moldova as a tune up for the Nations League double header with Poland and Netherlands. The Azzurri tactician has settled on a 4-3-3 formation with Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti battling it out for the lone striker berth and the European Golden Shoe winner should get the nod despite his compatriot’s bright start to the domestic campaign.
Much to the delight of employers Torino, Belotti remained at the club over the summer after strong interest from Tottenham Hotspur and is all but assured of a place in Mancini’s final 23-man party for the UEFA European Championship next June. The 26-year-old is 4/11 to net anytime while Immobile is 13/5 to open proceedings.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
|Domenico Berardi to score last||9/2||Offer|
|Italy to win 2-0||15/2||Offer|
|Over 4.5 goals||10/3||Offer|
Moise Kean, Francesco Caputo, Kevin Lasagna, and, if he can settle and perform at his next side, Mario Balotelli, are the contenders to support Immobile and Belotti in attack over the next 12 months.
Juventus target Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne will take their places on the flanks. The Fiorentina winger is at the centre of a tug of war between the two bitter rivals and is ready to be playing in the Champions League on a regular basis. The Genoa native is 4/5 to net anytime, while Stefano Sensi is 2/10 in the same market.
Club manager Antonio Conte has an embarrassment of riches in his midfield department but Sensi is good enough to be one of the starting three for the Nerazzurri, most likely alongside Arturo Vidal and Nicolo Barella and the former Sassuolo playmaker is now pushing for a more permanent role at international level. Italy are 2/7 to chalk up the victory.
One to watch for Italy: Caputo was the second top scoring Italian in Serie A last term behind Immobile and fully merits his inclusion in the Azzurri setup. The veteran is 21/2 to bag the final effort.
One to watch for Moldova: Artur Ioniță has plied his trade in Serie A for the last six seasons and was even a target for Juventus in 2016. The Benevento man is 24/1 to net anytime.
Long shot: There is real competition for places in the Italy ranks in each department and a there will be an eagerness to impress, particularly from the new faces. The Azzurri may be much changed before the clash with Poland but will have too much for the plucky Moldovans and a 4-0 success is 22/1.