Italy vs Finland UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers Group J Predictions

Euro 2020 Italy vs Finland
Italy vs Finland UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers

Saturday March 23rd, 19:45

The Euro 2020 qualifiers start up this week with Italy playing host to Finland in Sassuolo and after missing out of the 2018 World Cup, the Azzurri are determined to get back to the top of international football and not miss out on yet another tournament.

Predictions

With Italy at home this looks like it could be quite a stroll in the park for Roberto Mancini’s side but if we’ve learnt anything from the Italians in recent years it’s that you can always expect the unexpected to happen.

Italy are unbeaten in their last four games, winning against the United States and Poland while drawing against Portugal and Ukraine.

Finland lost their most recent game, against Estonia, which came off the back of a big win against Sweden, a 1-0 victory away from home.

The visitors also went on a good run between June and October when they won five games in a row against Greece, Estonia, Hungary and Belarus.

Italy have only won three games since their World Cup playoff loss against Sweden in 2017, with the two wins against the US and Poland coming alongside a win against Saudi Arabia.

But despite the recent form of the two nations, Italy will still be favourites for this game but while a big win may be expected, it certainly won’t be as easy as some are predicting. 2-0 isn’t out of the question, though.

Betting Tips

Italy are rightly favourites given the talent they have and their reputation but they’re also still trying to find their feet under Mancini’s new regime, so a win is a win regardless of performance. A standard 2-0 win will get them on the right track for this stage so while it may not be exciting, they’ll be looking more for wins than performances.

While Italy to win is almost a strong certainty, it wouldn’t be a shock if they take their time in getting into full gear with this game. If they start slowly and if Finland frustrate them by restricting space, then Italy will have to be patient and wait until the second half to get their goals once Finland tire out.

Statistics

Head to Head

Italy have an outrageously strong record against Finland, with 11 wins from 13 games with Finland’s only ever win coming in the 1913 Olympic Games. In fact, Finland haven’t even scored against Italy since 1977 when they lost 6-1, four of those Italian goals coming from Roberto Bettega.

Stats

  • Since they lost to Sweden in the World Cup playoff in 2017, Italy haven’t been in the best of forms yet surprisingly, they’ve only lost three times. They failed to register a win against Argentina, France and Portugal yet drew five games since that debacle against Sweden at the San Siro.
  • The biggest win in recent times for Finland was a 5-0 thrashing of Malta in 2018, their biggest win since 2010 when they hit eight past San Marino.
    Italy know that the record against Finland is very strong and that they haven’t conceded to them in nearly 45 years, so it’ll be a strong shock if
  • Finland actually get a goal in this game.
  • The Dacia Stadium – the host of this tie – hosted three games at the 1990 World Cup, hosted Pope John Paul II in 1992, and hosted concerts from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Coldplay, Madonna, Pink Floyd and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, although it seems to play host more to concerts and Italian National Rugby games than the Azzurri.
By:Sam Watt

Football manager is my life, but have taken up writing to help put all that knowledge playing the game to good use. Follow me for all things European football and gain unexpected knowledge about players and teams you didn't know before. When not playing football manager, I take a break to play with my Sunday League team.

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