Ace Football previews the UEFA Nations League match between Italy and Poland, and offers betting tips, odds, and team news.
A table-topping clash at the Mapei Stadium on Sunday night awaits as Italy and Poland lock horns in what could prove to be a decisive match.
The previous meeting between these two sides ended in a goalless stalemate last month in Gdansk. But another draw for Italy in their most recent Nations League game allowed Poland to leapfrog them into the top spot of Group A1.
Progression into the finals is now a real possibility for the Poles ahead of the final two games. Although their mettle will be put to the test in Italy, with the unbeaten hosts determined to snatch their lead back.
Italy Form & Stats
Injuries and health restrictions have hit Italy hard this month. Roberto Mancini, for instance, is unavailable to manage the team upon testing positive for COVID-19. While several players have been stopped from traveling across the country.
These unfavorable circumstances forced the Azzurri to field a makeshift side in their midweek friendly against Estonia. Although they still emerged convincing 4-0 winners with Pietro Pellegri, Davide Calabria, and Matteo Pessina all debuting.
Not only did it serve as an ideal warm-up for the international break, it extended Italy’s unbeaten run to 20 games (W15 D5). But now the real test is here in the form of Poland, and only three points will be good enough.
Andrea Belotti is reportedly not at full fitness either, and an inconclusive COVID-19 test has prevented the health authorities from releasing Ciro Immobile. It’s not clear if Mancini will return to the dugout either after taking another COVID-19 test.
And now Alberigo Evani, who is overseeing the team’s affairs in Mancini’s absence, has also lost Leonardo Bonucci to injury.
Key Team Stats
- Unbeaten in their last 20 games in all competitions (W15 D5).
- Won eight of their last 10 home games in all competitions (D2).
- Four clean sheets in their last five games in all competitions.
Poland Form & Stats
Eyes will be Robert Lewandowski as the Bayern Munich striker attempts to build on a remarkable year by leading Poland to the Nations League finals.
The 32-year-old has been in sensational form again this season and played a role in all three goals of Poland’s 3-0 win over Bosnia to lift them into first-place in Group A1, with just two games separating them from the finals.
These appear to be promising times for the Eagles, who have lost just once in their last 11 games. Seven points from four games in a group comprising Italy and the Netherlands is an impressive achievement already. But the fact Polish FA president Zbigniew Boniek claims they’re confident of a result in Italy shows just how far they’ve come.
Head coach Jerzy Brzeczek’s move to blend in youth with experience has paid dividends, with a 2-0 friendly win over Ukraine setting them up perfectly for Sunday night.
Key Team Stats
- Lost just once in their last 11 games in all competitions (W8 D2).
- Won nine of their last 14 away games in all competitions (D2 L3).
- Robert Lewandowski has scored eight goals in his last 11 games in all competitions.
Out: Domenico Criscito, Angelo Ogbonna, Leonardo Spinazzola, Francesco Caputo, Leonardo Bonucci, Roberto Gagliardini, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Bryan Cristante, & Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Doubt/s: Alessio Romagnoli & Federico Chiesa.
Out: Damian Kadzior, Jakub Kaminski, Mateusz Klich, Michal Karbownik, & Bartlomiej Dragowski.
(Note: The image will change to the official XI once they’re both announced)
Top Goalscorers in Recent Games
Italy and Poland have faced each other 17 times previously since April 1965. The home side have won six times, drawn eight, and lost on three occasions.
Below are their most recent meetings and some head-to-head stats on the team’s recent form in the Nations League.