Bulgaria welcome Italy to the Levski Stadium in Sofia as they face off in a Group C 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Italy join Switzerland at the top of the group, having won their opening encounter, while Bulgaria are at the bottom alongside Northern Ireland.
Bulgaria were relegated to the UEFA Nations League C last year, and there wasn't much expected of them against Switzerland this week.
The visiting Swiss racked up a 3-0 lead inside 13 minutes as the Lavovete were left shell-shocked. Kiril Despodov scored a consolation in the second half, as Bulgaria began their road to Qatar with a 3-1 loss.
In contrast, Italy made the UEFA Nations League semifinals to be held in October.
The Azzurri began their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a convincing 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland earlier this week.
Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile found the net as Roberto Mancini oversaw a comfortable win.
Bulgaria vs Italy Head-to-Head
Bulgaria and Italy have faced each other 22 times in their history, with Italy winning 11 and drawing nine. The Lavovete have only managed two wins. Italy are undefeated in their last eight games (5W 3D) against Bulgaria.
The two teams last met in the qualifying stage for the 2016 Euros, with Italy winning 1-0 at home after having drawn 2-2 in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria form guide: L-D-L-W-L
Italy form guide: W-W-W-W-D
Bulgaria vs Italy Team News
Yasen Petrov saw all of his players come through unscathed in their opening tie against Switzerland, with his squad fully fit.
Bulgaria utilized a three-man defense to cancel out Switzerland and may revert to a four-man backline against Italy.
Roberto Mancini saw his Inter Milan players join up late due to a COVID-19 scare. The likes of Nicolo Barella, Alessandro Bastoni and Roberto Sensi are expected to start this game.
Mancini will be tempted to rotate his entire starting lineup, with Andrea Belotti, Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi likely to get a chance.
Bulgaria vs Italy Predicted XI
Bulgaria Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Plamen Iliev (GK); Strahil Popov, Petar Zanev, Vasil Bozhikov, Cicinho; Georgi Kostandinov, Kristiyan Malinov; Spas Delev, Georgi Yomov, Kiril Despodov; Dimitar Iliev
Italy Predicted XI (4-3-3): Salvatore Sirigu (GK); Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Bastoni, Gianluca Mancini, Leonardo Spinazzola; Nicolo Barella, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Roberto Sensi; Federico Chiesa, Andrea Belotti, Federico Bernardeschi
Bulgaria vs Italy Prediction
Italy have rarely lost to Bulgaria, but they haven't won there in quite a while either. Roberto Mancini's men have looked hugely impressive of late, and their strength in depth will come to the fore against tired Bulgarian legs.
We expect yet another comfortable win for the Azzurri with Andrea Belotti amongst the goals.
Prediction: Bulgaria 1-3 Italy