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Italy vs Northern Ireland Prediction & Match Preview

 

Italy vs Northern Ireland Prediction & Match Preview

Italy

Northern Ireland

25 March 2021 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET World Cup Qual

Italy play host to Northern Ireland at their Stadio Ennio Tardini in the opening match of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. 


The Azzurri are eyeing their fourth consecutive win in all competitions, and they are seen as hot favourites to win Thursday’s clash. 

Rafael Toloi has received his first call-up for the national team, while Inter players Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolo Barella, and Stefano Sensi are subject to the measures put in place by local health authorities.

The Green and White Army, on the other hand, do not seem to be at the top of their game, with the team failing to win the previous ten games in all competitions. 

Considering that Italy are a real force to be reckoned with at home, we predict that Northern Ireland are going to return to Belfast empty-handed. 

Leicester defender Jonny Evans has overcome his injury. Kyle Lafferty should be fit to face the Italians as well.

Italy vs Northern Ireland Head-to-head (h2h)

Teams Italy N.Ireland played so far 4 matches.
Italy won 3 direct matches. N.Ireland won 0 matches. 1 matches ended in a draw. On average in direct matches both teams scored a 2.00 goals per Match.

Italy vs Northern Ireland Prediction

Italy in actual season average scored 2.17 goals per match. In 15 (88.24%) matches played at home was total goals (team and opponent) Over 1.5 goals. In 6 (35.29%) matches in season 2021 played at home was total goals (team and opponent) Over 2.5 goals.

N.Ireland average scored 0.96 goals per match in season 2021. In 9 (64.29%) matches played away was total goals (team and opponent) Over 1.5 goals. In 6 (42.86%) matches played away team was total goals (team and opponent) Over 2.5 goals.

Team News:

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho and Inter Milan counterpart Nicolo Barella have been regular starters for Italy under Roberto Mancini, but the former has a knee injury and Barella has not yet been able to join up with the squad because of a COVID-19 outbreak at Inter Milan.

Fellow Inter pair Stefano Sensi and Alessandro Bastoni have been subject to restrictions too, but all three can travel if they return a negative test ahead of the game. Meanwhile, further issues affecting the Azzurri's midfield selection include an injury to versatile Roma midfielder Bryan Cristante.

Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile are the favourites for the central striker's role on Thursday, with in-form Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa potentially featuring out wide.

For Northern Ireland, Jamal Lewis is a major doubt due to a groin injury and the Newcastle United full-back did not train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday.

Manager Ian Baraclough is set to make a late decision on the defender's fitness, but will be relieved to have experienced Leicester City centre-back Jonny Evans, who played in the FA Cup on Sunday, available - though the stalwart defender did not train on Tuesday either.

The Green and White Army have already lost striker Conor Washington due to injury and winger Jordan Jones was forced to withdraw just before the squad was made public.

Linfield forward Shayne Lavery has been called up and could feature at some stage, while uncapped Liverpool Under-23 goalkeeper Liam Hughes has also been added as back-up to first choice Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who has been short of first-team action at Burnley.

Hearts striker Liam Boyce is not expected to join up with his team-mates until later in the camp, as he awaits the birth of his second child.

Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Emerson, Bonucci, Bastoni, Florenzi; Locatelli, Verratti, Barella; Insigne, Immobile, Chiesa

Northern Ireland possible starting lineup:
Peacock-Farrell; McNair, J. Evans, Cathcart; Dallas, Davis, Saville, C. Evans, Kennedy; Magennis, Lafferty


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