Italy national football team look to bounce back to winning ways when they host Scotland in an international friendly match on Sunday evening.
Antonio Conte’s men had failed to win their last four matches, which includes heavy defeats against Belgium and Germany and draws against Spain and Romania. They are drawn into a tricky group consisting of Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Belgium at the Euro 2016 and Conte will be hoping to perfect his tactics before their first match on 6th June. Italy were unbeaten in the qualifiers with 7 wins and 3 draws, but they must get back to winning ways soon after the lacklustre performances in the recent outings.
Scotland missed out on the qualification for Euro showdown in France after finishing fourth in their group. They have managed to bounce back from the disappointment after winning in all of their three friendly matches after that. Scotland haven’t conceded a goal in any of their last three matches and Gordon Strachan’s rigid philosophy is expected to give the Italians a tough run on Sunday night.
Italy: Team News
Riccardo Montolivo and Thiago Motta are major doubts for this friendly against Scotland as both are struggling with injuries. Marco Veratti is also out with an injury and is a major doubt for the finals in France.
The injured Claudio Marchisio will miss the Euro 2016 squad, while Andre Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco are overlooked.
Daniele Rugani, Davide Zappacosta, Marco Benassi and Stefano Sturaro are all lined up to make their debut for Italy against Scotland on Sunday night.
Italy: Predicted Line-up (3-4-3)
Buffon – Astori, Bonucci, Darmian – Giaccherini. De Rossi, Parolo, Florenzi – El Shaarawy, Immobile, Pelle.
Scotland: Team News
Scotland will be without goal keepers Allan McGregor and Scott Bain, who sidelined through injury. Cardiff City shot stopper David Marshall could start here, while the reserve goalkeepers Scott Fox and Jack Hamilton are uncapped.
James Morrison, Jordan Rhodes and Scott Brown are not called up for the friendlies against Italy and France, while the likes of Andy Robertson, Robert Snodgrass, Shaun Maloney and Barry Bannan are still away on club duty.
Heart of Midlothian defender Callum Paterson and Rangers midfielder Barrie McKay could make their debut against Italy on Sunday.
Scotland: Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)
Marshall – Robertson, Berra, Martin, Paterson – Anya, McArthur, Darren Fletcher, Ritchie – Steven Fletcher.
Italy vs Scotland: Head-to-Head Stats
The teams had met on 8 previous occasions, Italy were victorious in 8 of them, while Scotland had won just once, and 2 matches end in draws. Scotland’s only win over Italy was way back in 1965.
This will be the first time that the teams are meeting on a neutral venue, Italy’s home record against Scotland is 4 wins out of 4 and away record from 4 matches is 1 win, 2 draws and 1 loss.
Italy vs Scotland: Prediction
Italy will be desperate to get back to winning ways after failing to win in any of their last four matches. The Gli Azzurri reached the finals of Euro 2012, but knocked out in the group stages of World Cup 2014. And they are already showing their weakness ahead of the big showdown in France.
A team like Scotland, who are often rough and tough is expected to give a tough test for Conte’s men. The goals are likely to remain on the lower side and under 2.5 goals on this match is highly recommended.
My prediction for this match is a 1-0 narrow win for Italy.
Recommended Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 2.25
Best Bet: Italy to win @ 1.72
Risky Bet: Scotland to win @ 5.25