Leonardo Bonucci will be up against Robert Lewandowski in UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League: Italy and Poland Aim for A1 Summit

Italy vs Poland

Europe’s form team, Italy, returns to action on Sunday in a fascinating meeting with Poland and top spot in UEFA Nations League Group A1 is the victors’ prize.

The visitors are currently leading the group, a point ahead of their hosts and two ahead of the Netherlands in a three-way race to the top. The Azzurri have been in superb form over the past 12 months while Poland possess one of the best attacking talents in world football, namely Robert Lewandowski.

Both teams warmed up for this clash with comfortable wins in midweek, Italy hammering Estonia 4-0 while Poland overcame a useful Ukraine side 2-0.

This is a great game for SBOTOP Nations League fans to get involved in, with all three results well in play and a firm grip on Group A1 for the winners.

 

Talking Points

Immobile a doubt for Italy

Head coach Roberto Mancini has Italy playing without fear and they seem to have recovered from missing out on Russia 2018, the first finals tournament the Azzurri was absent from in sixty years. The current crop of stars has a typical combination of technical skill and a granite constitution but, unlike previous Azzurri teams, is scoring for fun, bagging 58 goals in 25 matches under Mancini.

But they could well be without their top striker Ciro Immobile who remains doubtful after testing positive for coronavirus. His club Lazio is in trouble because he tested positive at the start of the month, but Lazio insisted it was a false result and they played him in a 4-3 victory over Torino, in which he scored an injury time penalty. Subsequently Immobile has tested positive again and may still be sidelined on Sunday.

If that’s the case then it could be good news for Torino’s Andrea Belotti who may step in alongside Lorenzo Insigne. And Mancini is set to recall Chelsea midfielder Jorginho and defensive rock Leo Bonucci who were rested in midweek.

A 1-1 draw with the Netherlands was Italy’s last outing in this competition, and a victory over Poland on Sunday will hand Mancini’s men the control they seek.

UEFA Nations League: Poland's playmaker Piotr Zielinski tipped to be the next Kevin De Bruyne

Poland’s Krzysztof Piatek celebrates scoring their first goal with Piotr Zielinski and teammates

Poland at full strength

But it won’t be easy. Poland head coach Jerzy Brzeczek has a full squad to pick from and there are two players in particular that Italy will be wary of. Of course, there’s striking legend Lewandowski, but then Napoli’s creative midfielder Piotr Zielinski will pose an entirely different threat.

Zielinski’s former team-mate, Pepe Reina, rates the 26 year old highly, saying it won’t be long before he’s playing for either Real Madrid or Barcelona. That may be wishful thinking from the Spanish stopper, but it shows just how good he thinks the midfielder is.

And the statistics back him up. Only forwards Jose Callejon and Insigne created more chances for Napoli than Zielinski’s 53 last season and he was third placed in terms of pass completion.

He uses the ball wisely and dangerously; which is all good news for Lewandowski, who has put himself in pole position for another Bundesliga Golden Boot, with 11 goals already, four more than nearest rival Lucas Alario. Nobody in the German league has had more than his 31 shots on goal, so Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will be watching the FC Bayern man, while his team-mates keep an eye on Zielinski.

Once the weekend’s UEFA Nations League 2020 results are all in we’ll know more about the likely outcome in Group A1, but if Poland can fashion a win then they will have one foot in the finals. The Netherlands host Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier on Sunday and if the Bosnians can spring a surprise then the position will become crystal clear.

 

History

There’s little to choose between these two teams in terns of head to heads; Italy have won three to Poland’s two, and there have been five draws from the ten meetings since 1974.

Italy bossed the return fixture a month ago, enjoying 60 per cent possession and winning the shot count by 16 to four, but Poland hung on for a 0-0 draw.

Poland are unbeaten in five, but they have a huge task to overcome the Azzurri, who are unbeaten in 20 games and 21 on home soil.

 

Betting Tip

??
Italy vs Poland Under 2.25 @ 1.84
November 16, 03:45 (GMT+8)

The very latest Italy vs Poland betting odds pitch the hosts as favourites at odds of 1.70 while Poland are out at 4.84 and the draw is available at 3.25.

The most likely score-line is 1-0 at odds of 4.74, though who would bet against Lewandowski scoring a goal? 1-1 is the next result in line at odds of 5.99.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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