24 March 2019
Italy’s European Championship qualifiers get underway with a home clash with Finland that’s scheduled to take place at the Dacia Arena in Udine.
Frustrated with a fiasco in the World Cup qualifiers, the hosts look to return to be protagonists in the international football as they go into this meeting off the back of a four-game unbeaten run (W2, D2). Interestingly, all four of Italy’s previous games have produced under 2.5 goals, with both of their wins in that period saw them beating their rivals with the identical 1-0 scoreline. Gli Azzurri have endured a disappointing UEFA Nations League campaign, finishing as the runners-up in Group A/3 behind Portugal. Roberto Mancini’s men have pulled off just one triumph in four competitive games after missing on the World Cup qualification (W1, D2, L1), mainly thanks to the fact they’ve scored just two goals during the competition. Italy’s main strength is their hardly penetrable backline that has kept three clean sheets in the build-up to this encounter, restricting their rivals to a maximum of one goal per match in four of last seven games.
Meanwhile, the visitor’s inability to maintain consistency has seen them winning and losing in sequences. Huuhkajat have gone from five straight wins to a disappointing spell of three defeats in four games (W1, L3). In spite of the fact, two of their last three failures have come in the UEFA Nations League, Markku Kanerva’s men have still finished top of Group C/2 ahead of Hungary. Interestingly, all seven of Finland’s previous victories have seen them beating their rivals to nil, with four of those triumphs ended with the identical 1-0 scoreline. However, for Finland goals have been in short supply, with nine of their last ten games producing under 2.5 goals.
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