UEFA Nations League PREVIEW: Italy v Hungary | Matchday 2

Having salvaged a respectable draw against Germany, Italy will host Hungary in their second fixture of the ongoing UEFA Nations League on Tuesday evening.

Although the Germans were more dominant at the weekend, Roberto Mancini led his team to a balanced result following the upset of Finalissima 2022.

They might not have played their best football against their German counterparts and needed the lady luck to favour them against the attacking names such as Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and Timo Werner, but the Azzurri line-up with ten changes from the game against Argentina ended up doing justice to their potential.

On the other hand, Hungary shocked England, with Dominik Szoboszlai’s goal from the spot-kick helping the nation clinch the top spot in a group—consisting of heavyweights such as England, Germany, and Italy—at the end of the first round of fixtures.

When it comes down to the recent results, Hungary have lost just one game in their last five matches across all competitions. On the contrary, Italy have won only once during the same period.

Results in the last five games:

Italy: D-L-W-L-D

Hungary: W-W-L-W-W

Team News

Providing the assist for Azzuri’s opener against Germany, Wilfried Gnonto became a national hero and a topic of intense discussion internationally. Therefore, Gnonto is expected to start against Hungary. Gianluca Mancini could replace Francesco Acerbi, who looked shaky at times the other night. Gianluca Scamacca and Lorenzo Pellegrini should keep their places in the line-up.

Hungary could field a three-man defence, with RB Leipzig custodian Péter Gulácsi given their duties with the gloves. Dominik Szoboszlai, 21, appears to be a superstar in the making. As things stand, Adam Szalai could lead the line for the central European nation with his bulky appearance.

Predicted XIs

Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Florenzi, Mancini, Bastoni, Biraghi; Fratessi, Cristante, Tonali; Gnonto, Scamacca, Pellegrini

Hungary (3-4-2-1): Gulacsi; Lang, Orban, Attila Szalai; Nego, A. Nagy, Schafer, Z. Nagy; Sallai, Szoboszlai; Adam Szalai

Hungary recently beat England, albeit with a fine margin. One should not overlook the threat posed by this talented group of players, led by an ambitious figure like Marco Rossi. Mancini’s men will look to secure a victory in an ongoing endeavour to overcome the nightmares of World Cup qualifiers.

Jyotirmoy Halder

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