Roberto Mancini's side might struggle to keep a clean sheet when they face Jerzy Brzęczek's men in UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League: Who Can Chase Portugal Down?

Poland vs Italy

All roads lead to the Stadion Slaski in Chorzow this weekend for the UEFA Nations League tie of the round as Roberto Mancini takes Italy to meet Poland.

Group A3 is an absolute cracker, with three of Europe’s finest football nations battling it out, and relegation is a real option in the new format. Portugal are making the early pace and so, on Sunday, one of these two teams needs to make a move.

I don’t mind saying we at SBOBET football missed Italy at Russia 2018. It was Gli Azzurri’s first absence from the World Cup in 60 years as they plummeted to their lowest FIFA ranking at 21st.  Poland did make it but disappointed. So both sides are in a period of rebuilding, trying to get ready for Euro 2020.

Talking Points

The early UEFA Nations League 2018 results in Group A3 have put Portugal firmly in charge on six points, while Italy and Poland are stuck on one. This game is huge in the context of that table: a win puts the victors in contention and the loser in the mire.

Even without Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal proved to be too good for Jerzey Brzeczek’s Poland, winning Thursday’s match 2-3 after going behind. The former Wista Plock coach has been tasked with getting Poland to the European Championships after the exit of Adam Nawalka, but he needs to make progress in this competition and find some momentum, which has proved tricky so far.

He’s well-known to Poland fans, having won 42 caps for the national team, and certainly has some quality in his side.  But skipper Robert Lewandowski is going through an unusually quiet period for Bayern Munich, without a goal in three games. He won his 100th cap last night, but there was to be no celebration. Surely. Lewandowski will come good again soon.

Attacking midfielder Piotr Zielinski knows a few of the faces he’ll meet on Sunday night, having started well with his new club Napoli in Serie A. And as his last line of defence, Brzeczek has two experienced keepers. Lukasz Fabianski played against Portugal, but Wojciech Szczesny might well get the nod on Sunday.

Whoever is between the sticks for Poland will probably come up against one of the hottest properties in the Italian league, Lazio’s Ciro Immobile. But Roberto Mancini has plenty more talent in his armoury.

Lorenzo Insigne is an almost certain pick on the left wing when Italy play Poland in UEFA Nations League

Lorenzo Insigne hope to inspire Italy vs Poland

Zielinski’s club-mate Lorenzo Insigne is in fine form, with seven goals to his name already this season. And Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella had an impressive international debut on Wednesday as Italy drew with Ukraine in a friendly: he linked up well with Chelsea’s Jorginho, and the two can provide plenty of ammunition for Insigne and Immobile.

History

Mancini’s team hasn’t won in five away games but will feel they should have won the return fixture in Poland back in September when they were held to a 1-1 draw. In fact, three of Gli Azzurri’s last four games have resulted in a 1-1 scoreline. The other was a defeat to Portugal in the Nations League when Andre Silva scored the winner to put Portugal in charge of Group A3.

Poland like a 1-1 draw too, achieving that score against Ireland after the Italy match. And in the last eight meetings between these two sides, four have been draws, with each side winning two. But prior to this Nations League competition, the last meeting was seven years ago when Italy triumphed 2-0.

Betting Tip

??
Poland vs Italy First half draw @ 1.90
October 15, (02:45 GMT+8)

This is a fascinating clash for UEFA Nations League 2018 betting fans to get their teeth into, with Italy slight favourites at 2.37, while Poland are at 2.72 and the draw at 3.05.

Both teams have the firepower to win the game: Lewandowski for Poland and Immobile for Italy have proven pedigree in the biggest leagues in Europe, top-scoring in the Bundesliga and Serie A. But there may be a nervy atmosphere in Poland with neither team in the habit of winning. So I predict a cagey first 45 minutes while the big players on either side work out how they can break through.

Would either coach be happy with a point? I doubt it as that would give Portugal daylight at the top; but they look evenly matched and while the opening goal will be vital, if it arrives with 20 or so minutes to go it will be a nail-biter.

And, wait for it….1-1 is available at 4.80!

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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