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Italy vs Northern Ireland prediction, preview, team news and more | 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Italy play Northern Ireland on Thursday
Italy play Northern Ireland on Thursday
Abhinav Anand
ANALYST
Modified 23 Mar 2021
Preview

Italy are set to play host to Northern Ireland at the Stadio Ennio Tardini on Thursday for their latest FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture.

Italy come into this game on the back of a 2-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina last November at the Stadion Grbavica. Goals from Torino striker Andrea Belotti and Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi ensured victory for Italy.

Northern Ireland, on the other hand, drew 1-1 against Romania last November at Windsor Park. A goal from Heart of Midlothian striker Liam Boyce for Northern Ireland was cancelled out by a goal from Ural Yekaterinburg forward Eric Bicfalvi for Romania.


Italy vs Northern Ireland Head-to-Head

In nine head-to-head encounters between the two sides, Italy hold the clear advantage. They have won six games, lost one and drawn two.

The two clubs last faced each other way back in 2011, with Italy beating Northern Ireland 3-0. A brace from forward Antonio Cassano and an own goal from centre-back Gareth McAuley secured the win for Italy.

Italy form guide: W-W-W-D-D

Northern Ireland form guide: D-L-L-L-L

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Italy vs Northern Ireland Team News

Italy

Italy could be without the Inter Milan trio of centre-back Alessandro Bastoni and midfielders Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella. Roma midfielder Bryan Cristante is injured. Manager Roberto Mancini has named a large squad, including the experienced Juventus centre-backs Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

There could be debuts for Sassuolo defender Gian Marco Ferrari, Atalanta centre-back Rafael Toloi and Spezia midfielder Matteo Ricci.

Injured: Bryan Cristante

Doubtful: Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolo Barella, Stefano Sensi

Suspended: None

Northern Ireland

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland will be without Charlton Athletic forward Conor Washington, who is out with an injury. The likes of Leicester City centre-back Jonny Evans, Rangers midfielder Steven Davis and Kilmarnock striker Kyle Lafferty provide immense experience.

Derry City goalkeeper Nathan Gartside, Liverpool goalkeeper Liam Hughes and Accrington Stanley forward Dion Charles could all make their debuts.

Injured: Conor Washington

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None


Italy vs Northern Ireland Predicted XI

Italy Predicted XI (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessandro Florenzi, Francesco Acerbi, Leonardo Bonucci, Leonardo Spinazzola, Marco Verratti, Manuel Locatelli, Gaetano Castrovilli, Federico Chiesa, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne

Northern Ireland Predicted XI (3-5-2): Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Conor McLaughlin, Jonny Evans, Craig Cathcart, Stuart Dallas, Paddy McNair, George Saville, Corry Evans, Jamal Lewis, Josh Magennis, Kyle Lafferty

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Italy vs Northern Ireland Prediction

Italy have a good squad, with the likes of Federico Chiesa, Manuel Locatelli and Ciro Immobile all enjoying good seasons at club level. Young stars like Gaetano Castrovilli, Chiesa, Locatelli, Moise Kean and Gianluigi Donnarumma could all prove to be decisive for their country.

Northern Ireland, on the other hand, will rely on the experience provided by players like Jonny Evans and Steven Davis. Manager Ian Baraclough has named some young talents as part of the squad, including Newcastle United left-back Jamal Lewis and St Johnstone midfielder Alistair McCann.

Italy should have enough to triumph over Northern Ireland.

Prediction: Italy 2-0 Northern Ireland


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Published 23 Mar 2021, 14:53 IST
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