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With home advantage and fans on their side, Italy produced yet another flawless display and earned a well-deserved 3-0 win against Switzerland on Wednesday.
Manuel Locatelli was the man of the match netting the opening two goals, his second a brace from the edge of the penalty box. Meantime, Ciro Immobile made it 2 goals in 2 by striking a streamer from outside the box to complete the icing on the cake.
Having beaten Turkey in the opening match, the Azzurri are top of Group A with 6 points and became the first team to qualify for the knockouts. Still, there is no room for error, because a defeat here could push them to second, something they do not want since they could be drawn against one of the top performing team in the coming rounds.
Meantime, Wales proved that they are no pushovers and outplayed Turkey in the 2-0 win. It was an all-round performance from Welsh players, and they are in a good position to make it to the knockouts for a second consecutive time.
Aaron Ramsey was the player who made a big difference on the day, scored his team’s first goal, yet missed a few other chances, but was tirelessly working box-to-box to help the team building attacks and cut of the threat of opposition forwards. The full-time result could have been much more comfortable if not more the missed penalty by Bale and several others from close range.
Wales could finish second in the group if they avoid by 3 or more goals, given Switzerland do not win against Turkey by 2 of more goals.
Italy vs Wales: Head-to-head
- The Italians won 4 of the overall 5 head-to-head meetings with Wales.
- The last met in the World Cup qualifier in 2003, at the San Siro in Milan. The hosts bagged a massive 4-0 win on that occasion.
- The lone Welsh win happened in the reverse of the same fixture a year ago by a 2-1 scoreline.
- In Italian soil, all three wins for the Azzurri came by massive margins, 4-1 in 1969 and the same 4-0 in 1999 and 2003.
Wholesale changes are not expected from Roberto Mancini with his team looking for a win to keep up the momentum.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini picked up a knock in the first half of the win against Switzerland is not expected to risk here. Meantime, Marco Verratti remains in the sidelines and is still working his way back to full fitness.
Changes are no expected in the starting line-up from Rob Page as well with quality replacements far and few.
He only used 3 substitutes out of 5 available against Turkey and one of them was used to run down the clock in the 4th minute of injury time.
Match: Italy vs Wales
Date: Sunday, 20 June 2021
Stadium: Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
Competition: Euro 2020-21
Time: 17:00 UK/ 18:00 CET/ 21:00 PST
The Welsh team have performed exceptionally well in the opening two games, but this will be a difficult test. The Italians are playing fluid football and the creativity in the midfield can open the toughest and well-organized defenses.
On top of that, their finishing is exceptionally good, not only from the front three. Locatelli is just an example of what their midfielders can do if their opponents man mark of pack defenders inside the penalty area.
There is no need to remind the readers that it is extremely difficult to score against the Azzurri even if the veteran Chiellini is out nursing his injury.
I can only see this match going one way and that is an Italian win by a comfortable margin.
Ciro Immobile missed an array of chances before scoring a brace against Switzerland. We will back him once again here to score anytime and make it 3 in 3 games.
Probable Playing XI:
Donnarumma – Spinazzola, Acerbi, Bonucci, Di Lorenzo – Jorginho, Locatelli, Barella – Berardi, Insigne, Immobile.
Ward – Davies, Mepham, Rodon, Roberts – Allen, Morell – James, Ramsey, Bale – Moore.
Live Streaming Information
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