Sports Mole previews Sunday’s UEFA Nations League clash between Poland and Italy, including team news and predicted lineups.
Italy are currently top of Group 1 of League A with four points from their two matches, while Poland occupy third position, having claimed three points from their opening two fixtures in the section.
Poland lost their competition opener against the Netherlands on September 4 but impressively won 2-1 away to Bosnia-Herzegovina three days later to get off the mark in terms of points in this particular section.
The Eagles thumped Finland 5-1 in a friendly on Wednesday night, meanwhile, and will therefore enter this weekend’s contest in a confident mood, particularly with star player Robert Lewandowski back in the squad.
Lewandowski missed the September internationals due to his involvement in the Champions League final, but the Bayern Munich striker is in the current squad and should lead the line on Sunday night.
Poland, meanwhile, have already qualified for next summer’s European Championships, impressively winning eight of their 10 Group G matches to finish top of the section.
Italy opened their 2020-21 UEFA Nations League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Bosnia on September 4 before recording a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands three days later to move to the top of the section.
Roberto Mancini‘s side, like Poland, will also enter this match off the back of an excellent friendly victory, having beaten Moldova 6-0 on Wednesday night.
Italy actually struggled to impress in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, finishing second behind eventual winners Portugal in their group, winning just one of their four matches.
Mancini’s side were excellent in their Euro 2020 qualification group, though, winning all 10 of their matches, scoring 37 times and conceding just four to secure their spot in the finals.
The Azzurri are actually unbeaten since losing to Portugal in the 2018-19 edition of this tournament, a run that stretches back 17 matches and includes 14 victories, which is an indication of their credentials.
Poland Nations League form: DLLDLW
Poland form (all competitions): WWWLWW
Italy Nations League form: DLWDDW
Italy form (all competitions): WWWDWW
Poland were unable to call Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski into their squad after the 26-year-old tested positive for coronavirus, which could open the door for Sebastian Szymanski to earn a starting role.
As mentioned, Lewandowski is back in the squad, and the 32-year-old will be looking to add to the 61 goals that he has scored for his national side.
As for Italy, Mancini has been given food for thought following an excellent performance against Moldova, with Stephan El Shaarawy registering a brace for the home side.
Mancini is expected to make a number of changes for this contest, though, with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini both available after being allowed to leave the Juventus bubble following a coronavirus scare.
Federico Chiesa, who joined Juve on loan on transfer deadline day, could also be handed a spot in the side as Nicolo Zaniolo, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi all missed out on the squad through injury.
Ciro Immobile is the leading scorer in the squad with 10 goals and should feature at the tip of the attack.
Poland possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Kedziora, Glik, Bednarek, Bereszynski; Goralski, Krychowiak; Jozwiak, Szymanski, Grosicki; Lewandowski
Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; D’Ambrosio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; El Shaarawy, Immobile, Chiesa
We say: Poland 1-2 Italy
This has all of the makings of a very, very interesting encounter. The return of Lewandowski for Poland is huge, but Italy’s run of form cannot be ignored. We are expecting a tight encounter between two strong teams but believe that the visitors will ultimately have enough to pick up their second win in the group.
Top betting tip
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data
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