Italy face a tricky test against Ukraine ahead of their second Nations League encounter with Poland. Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri drew 1-1 during the first meeting in September but the performance drew criticism from the local press. The former Inter boss is still searching for his best side while the visitors sit top of their group after beating Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively.
Where and when: Luigi Ferraris – 10 October, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Italy vs. Ukraine: Sky Sports
Last time: Forwards Giuseppe Rossi and Alessandro Matri scored either side of the break in a comfortable 2-0 win for Italy in March 2011 in Kiev.
|Patrick Cutrone to score last||9/2||Offer|
|Under 3.5 goals||31/10||Offer|
Italy vs. Ukraine Predictions and Preview
Mancini’s first act as national team Coach was to recall Mario Balotelli from the international wilderness, but the Nice striker misses out for the double header against Ukraine and Poland. The maverick ex-Milan and Inter forward was angling all summer for a move to Marseille but the move failed to materialise leaving Balotelli no option but to return to the Ligue 1 club where he has linked up with former Manchester City teammate Patrick Vieira. Vieira was appointed in the summer but has been critical of Balotelli’s physical condition and the 28-year-old is unlikely to return to the first-team picture until he improves his fitness.
Equally surprising was the return of Sebastian Giovinco, three years on from his last appearance. The diminutive Toronto talisman has racked up the goals and assists during his time in MLS and the ex-Juventus player should get an opportunity against Ukraine. Giovinco is 7/4 in the anytime market while Napoli’s red hot home town hero Lorenzo Insigne is 9/4 in the same betting. Insigne is thriving under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti who has moved the Neapolitan from a wide left position to a more central role where he can cause more damage. With the front three roles up for grabs in Mancini’s team, the skillful duo are expected to feature from the off given their fine domestic form. Italy are 8/11 to emerge victorious.
Visitors Ukraine are 9/2 to triumph and an Italy win is far from a foregone conclusion. The Azzurri will come up against a familiar face in Andriy Shevchenko and the Milan legend has some good quality at his disposal. Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka are the chief threats and can be found at 11/1 and 15/2 in the first scorer betting. Ukraine are 9/2 to claim the spoils.
One to watch for Italy: Federico Chiesa. The Fiorentina starlet is in direct competition with Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi for the two wide spots and is 5/2 to score anytime.
One to watch for Ukraine: Shakhtar Donetsk man Marlos. The Brazil born attacking midfielder has good numbers at club level and is 9/2 to net anytime during the contest.
Long shot: Italy have yet to impress under Mancini and doubts remain over the quality of this Azzurri group. Mancini has no recognised goalscorer with Balotelli omitted and a midfield that has struggled to create. Despite their shortcomings, the Azzurri must put a run together if they harbour any hopes of earning a place at EURO 2020. A 3-1 win for the hosts is 15/1.