Italy seek to qualify for Qatar. Can a plucky Northern Ireland team shock the World Champions?
Italy will be seeking to maintain their unbeaten run in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, when they journey to Windsor Park Stadium, to lock horns with Northern Ireland on Monday.
Northern Ireland head into the game off the back of ending their three-game winless run against Lithuania last Friday. Ian Baraclough’s outfit will be looking to build on that performance here.
That result saw Northern Ireland rise to third place in Group C, level on eight points with Bulgaria. The Azzurri top the group, but are level on 15 points with second-placed Switzerland.
Italy failed to win last time out, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Swiss, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Prior to that, Roberto Mancini’s men claimed a 2-1 win over Belgium, when the sides clashed for bronze at the UEFA Nations League, back in October.
With seven wins from their last 10 encounters, Italy boast a superior record in the history of this fixture. Northern Ireland have managed just one win in that time, while two games have ended in draws.
In squad news, Italy remain without the services of Nicolo Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Ciro Immobile, Giorgio Chiellini, and Marco Verratti, who are all sidelined through injury.
Northern Ireland have no absentee concerns and Jamal Lewis is back in contention. The left-back served a suspension against Lithuania in the last match.
The Azzurri should have way too much for Baraclough’s men. We Predict more than 2.5 goals in this encounter and for Italy to win 3-0.