Italy are back in action after the 1-2 loss against England as the Azzurri are set to face Malta away in the second game of their UEFA Euro Qualifiers campaign.
The game versus England has been welcomed with mixed reviews. On one side there have been harsh comments as Roberto Mancini’s side struggled and the defeat could have been heavier if only Jack Grealish would have scored England’s third goal.
On the other hand, there has been some optimism for the reaction produced in the second-half and that could have brought Italy to tie the game.
Nevertheless, everyone agreed on one thing – tonight is must-win for Italy if they don’t want to put their participation at EURO 2024 at risk after just two matches.
Stats are a cause of some relief for the Azzurri as they have won all the previous eight games played against Malta before today.
A familiar face will be on Malta’s bench as their head coach is Michele Marcolini, former Bari, Atalanta and Chievo player with 237 appearances in Serie A.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
L L D W L
L L W W W
It has been reported that Roberto Mancini is likely to make at least eight changes from the starting line-up that we saw against England.
Mateo Retegui won’t be part of this revolution as he’s likely to start his second game in a row after he scored for the Azzurri in his first start for the country against England. Riccardo Orsolini, Enrico Chiesa and Giorgio Chinaglia are the last three players who have found the net in both their first two games with Italy.
Nicolò Barella won’t available while Jorginho and Marco Verratti are likely to start the game from the bench. This means that Sandro Tonali, Bryan Cristante and Matteo Pessina are the favourite to be the starters in midfield.
Changes are expected in the defensive line too where Giorgio Scalvini and Alessio Romagnoli will play ahead of Rafael Toloi and Francesco Acerbi.
The only one who will retake his place is Napoli skipper Giovanni Di Lorenzo on the right as on the left West Ham’s Emerson Palmieri is the favourite to start over Leonardo Spinazzola.
Roma skipper Lorenzo Pellegrini has been excluded from today’s list but it has been reported that he has not suffered any injury. It is believed that it’s a matter of load-management.
Malta (3-4-2-1): Bonello; Z. Muscat, Borg, Attard; J.Mbong, Guillaumier, Kristensen, Camenzuli; Teuma, P. Mbong; Nwoko.
Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Scalvini, Romagnoli, Emerson; Tonali, Cristante, Pessina; Politano, Retegui, Gnonto.
Andrea Agostinelli I GIFN