Portugal and Italy are playing in the League A of the UEFA Nations League, which is reserved for the very best European teams. That’s kind of strange, considering that Italy failed to get their spot in the World Cup 2018. But, that may mean that they’re determined to prove everyone they belong among the cream of the crop. If you want to place a bet on their duel, it’s best to read this Portugal vs Italy match preview first.
The biggest news in Portugal squad ahead of the clash with Italy is that Cristiano Ronaldo is not there. He’s decided to stay in Turin and work with some of his Juve teammates on improving their finishing. That means that there’s a big gap up front, which Andre Silva will have to fill. But, the new Sevilla player has started the season in the top gear, scoring three goals already.
The rest of the team is basically the same as it was a few months ago when they played at the World Cup in Russia. One player from the first XI at the World Cup who’s not gonna play for Portugal national team anymore is Jose Fonte. His place is likely to take Neto, a defender playing for Zenit St. Petersburg.
The game with Italy is played in Lisbon at the stadium of Benfica, which has the capacity of over 65k people. That means that Portugal is going to have a huge support coming from the stands, which is guaranteed to give their players a boost to win their first UEFA Nations League game.
Roberto Mancini made his debut as Italy manager this Friday, but it’s fair to say that it wasn’t great. His team played 1:1 with Poland. Winning a point is alright, but Italy fans were hoping their boys will get back on the big stage in style. After failing to qualify for the World Cup 2018, Italy now need to do a lot of making up to their supporters.
And they nearly avoided another disaster. Poland had the lead since 40’ in Bologna, but Jorginho brought Italy the equalizer from the penalty spot. Italy had the ball in their possession most of the time, but only 2 of their 13 goal attempts went goalwards.
Interestingly enough, Mancini decided to pick Balotelli in the first XI. The two know each other from their Manchester City days, but that didn’t end too great for nether of them. He played as the number 9, but was substituted in 62’ by Belotti.
Another rather strange decision was picking Biraghi for the role of left back. The Fiorentina defender has played only one friendly in Italy jersey so far, so basically, this was his debut. Still, the biggest surprise for me was that Mancini didn’t play Immobile. The guy who scored 29 goals last season in Serie A sat on the bench the entire time.
Rui Patricio – Pepe, Neto, Cancelo, Marco Rui – William Carvalho, Rúben Neves, Bruma, Bernardo Silva – Andre Silva
Donnarumma – Chiellini, Bonucci, Zappacosta, Biraghi – Jorginho, Pellegrini, Bonaventura – Insigne, Bernardeschi, Immobile
Portugal vs Italy Match Prediction
Although the bookies think Portugal will win this, I think it’s gonna be a very close game. Both sides are very good in defense, so we might not see too many goals on Monday evening.
Portugal vs Italy Betting Tips
- First Half Draw @3.20 (William Hill)
- Under 2.5 Goals @2.40 (bwin)