UEFA Nations League PREVIEW: England v Italy | Matchday 3

Eyeing for a seamless run in the tournament, Italy take on England in their third fixture of the ongoing edition of the UEFA Nations League.

Even though the game will be hosted at Molineux Stadium, England will observe little support from the crowd, with the match going to be held behind closed doors. It is considered the punishment—imposed by UEFA on England—for the unrest at Wembley Stadium during last summer’s Euro 2020 final. However, Around 3,000 people, including under-14 schoolchildren, are expected to be rooting for the host nation.

Italy have not lost a game so far in the Nations League this season, spurring a sense of optimism among the visitors ahead of the weekend’s fixture. England have not won a game yet in the respective tournament. With one point thus, Gareth Southgate’s side remains at the bottom of their group.

The last five matches in all competitions

England: W-W-W-L-D

Italy: L-W-L-D-W

Team news

England manager Gareth Southgate is expected to make a few changes, with the reports claiming that those—playing their club football in Italy—could be included in the starting line-up. It means the likes of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori could get a rare start in the English colours.

Despite not scoring in abundance, Gianluca Scamacca has been impressive for his national side lately. He could keep his place in the starting XI. Gianluca Caprari and youngster Matteo Cancellieri could be the two odd names starting the match for the visitors on Saturday.

Predicted XIs

England (4-3-3): Pickford; James, Stones, Tomori, Trippier; Bellingham, Ward-Prowse, Gallagher; Sterling, Abraham, Grealish.

Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Mancini, Acerbi, Dimarco; Frattesi, Locatelli, Tonali; Cancellieri, Scamacca, Caprari.

It has been 11 months since Italy and England crossed paths in the final of the delayed 2020 European Championship. With England ruing opportunities in the penalties, the Italians had the ultimate laugh that night. England will be brimming with a purpose of vengeance. But with little push from the crowd, beating Italy could prove to be a monumental task for the team seeking the assistance of fortune.

Jyotirmoy Halder

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