Sports Mole preview Saturday’s Nations League clash between England and Italy, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
An empty Molineux is the scene of a replay of the Euro 2020 final on Saturday night England to face Italy in which UEFA Nations League.
The Three Lions salvaged a 1-1 draw with Germany in their most recent encounter in Group 3 of League A Roberto ManciniThe Hungary team scraped past Hungary 2-1.
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During one of the more one-sided meetings between old enemies Germany and England in recent years, Gareth Southgate‘s men failed to perform at their best as they tried to recover from their shallow opening defeat by Hungary.
Hansi FlickThe team deservedly took the lead Jonas Hofmann‘s smart turn and finish right after the restart, but Nico Schlotterbeck‘s journey further Harry Kane handed the Three Lions skipper half a century of goals for his country from the penalty spot, and he did just that.
Kane now only needs four shots to excel Wayne Rooney at the top of the English charts all-time, but at number four the Three Lions are currently in League A which would mean unexpected relegation to League B should performances continue in the same vein.
Questions about Southgate’s tactics inevitably arose as England went straight without a win for the first time since September 2018 and the Three Lions have not suffered a lengthy run without success in a competition since last World Cup year.
An empty Molineux won’t feel like a packed Wembley, but the hosts have gone 15 games unbeaten on English soil and Italy’s side are a stark contrast to the side that lifted the continental crown in London 11 months ago.
The Azzurri’s young side valiantly clinched a point of their own against Germany on Matchday 1, but some bigger names brought it to the table to ensure the reigning European champions were on the board against Hungary.
Nicole Barella and Luca Pellegrini was already on the scorer list Gianluca ManciniHungary’s own goal gave the Hungarians a small glimmer of hope, but the Azzurri hung on to claim their first win of the tournament, although arguably it could have been a lot more convenient.
Italy has now skipped Marco Rossi‘s team to the top of the standings as they scramble to reach the finals for the second straight cycle and winning the Nations League trophy would offer at least some consolation after yet another disheartening failure in World Cup qualifying.
The Azzurri’s win over Hungary is just their fourth triumph in 12 games in all competitions since their success at Euro 2020, while they have now also kept five clean sheets and will need to use their away-day specialties to secure a positive result in England.
In fact, Italy haven’t lost a single game away from home since September 2018 – a 1-0 defeat by Portugal in the Nations League – but after the ugly scenes of crowd troubles in front of Mancini’s side against England on penalties, no fans will be present in Molineux in the Euros 2020 flagship event.
Form of the England Nations League:
England form (all competitions):
Form of the Italian Nations League:
Italy form (all competitions):
England midfielder Calvin Phillips was a premature withdrawal from the Germany draw following a clash with Schlotterbeck, described by Southgate as a “serious impasse” and it’s hard to imagine the Leeds United man being available on Saturday.
That’s what Southgate is hoping for Phil Foden will return a negative COVID-19 test in time to return to the group and the same can be said james justin (calf), but Fikayo TomoriThe hamstring problem could keep him out a little longer. Trent Alexander Arnold has also left the camp for a well-deserved break.
Jack Grealish was a real live wire after its launch in Munich and looks set to return here Jude Bellinghamwhile Tammy Abraham will also be keen to earn a few minutes at Molineux.
Meanwhile, Italy allowed Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Bellotti go on holiday ahead of Saturday’s game, but the visitors didn’t pick up any new concerns about Hungary.
Alessandro Florenzi, Francesco Acerbi and Gianluca Scamacca were all notable absences from the squad on Matchday 2 and Mancini will certainly be considering another wave of changes, particularly in midfield.
Manuel Locatelli and Sandro Tonali both fight for their expulsion Bryan Cristante at the foot of the engine room while Giovanni di Lorenzo could take its place David Calabria right behind.
England possible starting line-up:
Ramsdale; James, Steine, Guehi, Trippier; Rice, Bellingham; Bowen, Mount, greyish; Kane
Italy possible starting line-up:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Mancini, Spinazzola; Locatelli, Tonali, Barella; Gnonto, Scamacca, Raspadori
We say England 1-0 Italy
Southgate faces ever-tighter scrutiny after two unsatisfactory performances in the Nations League as England’s attacking stars just don’t get off the ground, but neither are the Azzurri the force they once were.
The young and inexperienced forward line at Mancini’s disposal could struggle to break through the Three Lions’ stingy defense and we can imagine the Three Lions finally recording a first win on the board, which might not be the most entertaining matter is.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our experienced tipsters at Sporita.com predict a home win in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their football best tips.Home win: data