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Italy vs Switzerland - 5 things to watch in the enticing Group C encounter | 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Italy and Switzerland meet for the third time in 2021!
Italy and Switzerland meet for the third time in 2021!

Italy host Switzerland at the iconic Stadio Olimpico on Friday in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Both sides are currently level in Group C with 14 points each, competing for a direct spot at the showpiece.

Their clash in September ended in a goalless stalemate as the sides played out a tense encounter. However, with just one game remaining after this, both teams will be looking to go for the win here.

Switzerland are looking to make their fifth consecutive appearance at the World Cup. Meanwhile Italy aim to return to the world stage after their 2018 heartbreak.

Ahead of the mouth-watering kick-off, let's look at five things to watch in the clash:


#5 Injuries pile up pressure on both sides

Italy will miss Immobile's goalscoring prowess
Italy will miss Immobile's goalscoring prowess

In a top-of-the-table clash like this one, Italy and Switzerland can but hope to have all their key players available. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

The Azzurri won't be able to call upon the services of Nicolo Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Marco Verratti, and most importantly, Ciro Immobile, through injury.

The prolific Lazio striker will of course be a huge miss in the attack, but to make things worse, Giorgio Chiellini is the latest star to withdraw.

Chiellini has been added to the injury list for the Azzurri, now making it:🔹 Chiellini🔹 Immobile🔹 Pellegrini🔹 Zaniolo https://t.co/r7XrzpwIZo

La Nati, too, are riven with injuries, as seven players are currently out injured. This includes key goalscorers like Breel Embolo and Haris Seferovic, who's the most prolific in the squad (24) after only Xherdan Shaqiri (26).

Granit Xhaka will remain out for the third consecutive month.


#4 Switzerland to ditch 4-2-3-1 for 4-3-3 against Italy?

Seferovic will be a big miss for the Rossocrociati
Seferovic will be a big miss for the Rossocrociati

After his 4-3-2-1 formation produced no goals in two qualifying games in September, head coach Murat Yakin reverted to a more-offensive 4-2-3-1 last month.

It yielded six goals against Northern Ireland and Lithuania as the Swiss regained their attacking spark. However, with key players like Embolo, Zuber and Seferovic injured, the Turkish coach will have to tweak his side once again.

Will we just write off this international break? 😬Xhaka, Seferovic, Elvedi, Embolo, Zesiger, Zuber and maybe Fassnacht(?) all out.We should be fine vs. Bulgaria but my slim hopes vs. Italy are at zero now.

In all probability, it might be a 4-3-3, with the side looking to score against the Azzurri. Martin Gavranovic will operate at the tip of the attack with Shaqiri and Renato Steffen flanking him.

Yakin has rotated between Fabian Frei, Denis Zakaria and Remo Freuler in the holding midfield role. With Zakaria now returning from a suspension, he's likely to keep his place in the middle with Freuler shifting out wide on the left.

#3 Berardi must start on the right for Italy

Berardi's form holds Italy in a good stead
Berardi's form holds Italy in a good stead

Expect changes in the Italy camp too, with Moise Kean likely to start at the center of their attack in Immobile's absence. But it's the right wing where Mancini has a decision to make.

Federico Chiesa, Federico Bernardeschi and Domenico Berardi are all available. Considering their recent line-ups, Chiesa has a better chance of starting here.

Domenico Berardi com a camisa do Sassuolo:296 jogos108 gols40 assistênciasEm 2021/22: Cinco jogos, três gols e uma assistência. https://t.co/HqitAuRdO8

But their coach would be wise to give Berardi a chance, for the Sassuolo man has been on a good run of form. He has registered five goals and three assists in 10 league clashes this season.

Only four players in Serie A have a better goal-contribution than him!

Given the Azzurri are playing at home, they'll be aiming to take the lead first. Having the in-form Berardi bombarding down the right flank will surely help their cause a great deal.


#2 Goals or no goals?

Italy have scored only 10 goals in six games, while the Swiss have bagged two fewer
Italy have scored only 10 goals in six games, while the Swiss have bagged two fewer

It's a no-brainer that both teams will push for victory, but that doesn't guarantee many goals. In fact, Italy (10) and Switzerland (12) have scored only 22 times combined.

In comparison, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, England and Poland have all scored more, while Belgium have managed 21.

But defensively, the sides have been some of the most resolute, conceding only once each.

Moreover, with key goalscorers like Immobile, Seferovic and Embolo all missing in action, neither team might be at their attacking best.


#1 Winner takes it all

A tasty encounter awaits
A tasty encounter awaits

Italy and Switzerland's latest encounter has all the hallmarks of a winner-takes-all clash, as the winning side would essentially clinch Group C.

Both sides are level on points. The winner would open up a three-point gap going into the final matchday, which isn't challenging for either of them.

The Azzurri are away to Northern Ireland while Switzerland are at home to Bulgaria. They're both expected to pick up all three points without much hassle.

Referee appointments for 2021-22 FIFA WC European Qualifiers, Matchday 9, games to be played on 12 November 2021.Anthony Taylor to referee the crucial clash between Italy and Switzerland in Rome.All assignments here: law5-theref.blogspot.com/2021/11/202122… https://t.co/9LV48p5r4Z

So it really boils down to their clash on Friday.

Should it end in a draw, Italy will remain on top but will have to maintain their superior goal-difference. They can do that by either equaling or bettering Switzerland's result on the final day.

Poll : Will Italy score 3 or more goals against Switzerland?

Yes

No

53 votes

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Edited by Aditya Singh
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