Group C favourites Italy meet rank outsiders Lithuania in the final instalment of World Cup qualifiers before domestic football resumes. The 129th ranked nation in the FIFA standings fared well in 2020, winning four of their eight matches but the Azzurri pose a completely different threat to the likes of Estonia, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.
Where and when: LFF Stadium, Vilnius – 31 March, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Lithuania vs. Italy: Sky Sports Red Button
Last time: Fabio Quagliarella bagged a brace in Kaunas 14 years ago.
Lithuania v Italy Predictions and Preview
Roberto Mancini will be without Francesco Caputo, Domenico Berardi and Giorgio Chiellini, who all left camp after the 2-0 success over Northern Ireland. Moise Kean is also absent and there could be wholesale changes as the Azzurri tactician fine tunes his squad for EURO 2020 this summer.
Berardi will be disappointed to miss out through injury, particularly after scoring against Parma, but should be assured of a place in the final 23. Federico Chiesa, Andrea Belotti and Federico Bernardeschi are set for the front three spots and the Juventus duo have experienced contrasting fortunes this year.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
|Italy to win 2-0||9/2||Offer|
|Over 4.5 goals||7/2||Offer|
|Ciro Immobile to score last||14/5||Offer|
Chiesa followed the same path as his compatriot from Fiorentina to the Bianconeri and took no time to hit the ground running. The Ligurian has 17 goal contributions to his name and his €40m fee is a bargain in the current market. Club and international team-mate Bernardeschi joined in 2017 and has displayed flashes of his obvious ability, but not on a consistent basis.
Despite his troubles with the Scudetto holders, the Viola youth graduate is highly thought of by Mancini and is 9/2 to open proceedings. Chiesa is available at 7/2 and is primed to star for Juventus and Italy for the next decade.
Belotti is 11/4 to break the deadlock and his own future remains uncertain. The forward is single-handedly keeping Torino out of the drop zone and is unlikely to be plying his trade for the Granata next season, irrespective of their league status. Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Roma and Napoli are all admirers and Belotti knows he can boost his Azzurri hopes by testing himself in European competition. Italy are 2/11 to record another victory.
One to watch for Lithuania: Arvydas Novikovas has struck on 12 occasions for the national team and is 14/1 to register anytime.
One to watch for Italy: Matteo Pessina enjoyed a breakthrough term in 2019-20 on loan at Verona and is now a mainstay in Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta side. The midfielder is 15/2 to notch last.
Long shot: Mancini has a pool of nearly 40 players to choose from and some big names are likely to be disappointed in June. The Azzurri could conceivably field three exceptional elevens and will have no trouble dispatching Lithuania. A 5-0 triumph for the visitors is 17/1.