Italy vs Northern Ireland Preview and Prediction 2021

Italy vs Northern Ireland Preview and Prediction 2021

Italy vs Northern Ireland predictions for Thursday’s World Cup qualification clash at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Italy are favourites to get their campaign off to a winning start against Northern Ireland. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.

Italy has conceded just seven goals in their last 22 fixtures.

Italy has kept five clean sheets in their last six matches.

Italy is unbeaten in their last 22 games since late 2018.

Northern Ireland has won only two of their last 13 games.

Tough opening test for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland start their World Cup qualification campaign in the toughest possible manner when they travel to take on Group C favourites Italy in Parma on Thursday evening.

Ian Baraclough’s side are considered outsiders to make it out of a section they share with strong Italian and Swiss outfits, and Northern Ireland’s chances of qualifying for their first World Cup tournament since 1986 seem incredibly slim.

With just two wins from their last 13 international fixtures since September 2019, Northern Ireland’s form has been poor for a sustained period, and they should struggle to match Italy’s superior class this week.

Italy targeting fast start

Italy meanwhile have pride to restore having sensationally failed to make the cut for World Cup 2018. The Azzurri, who are unbeaten in 22 games since late 2018 are starting to look like a formidable force on the international scene again, and coach Roberto Mancini has overseen a solidification of the team’s defensive foundations.

The Italians coasted though their European Championship qualification group with a 100% winning record and conceded just four times in 10 fixtures along the way, in fact, they have conceded just seven goals in total in their last 22 assignments overall.

Clean sheet for Italy?

With veteran trio Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Francesco Acerbi all still playing key roles in Roberto Mancini’s defence, Italy have huge amounts of experience at the back and their defensive record ranks among international football’s best.

Italy have kept five clean sheets in their last six fixtures and in nine of their last 13 games overall, and the hosts are worth backing to keep a Northern Ireland team lacking quality at the top end at arm’s length this week.

Roberto Mancini’s Group C favourites will be keen to kick their campaign off in positive and professional style, and Italy’s superb defensive numbers makes them worth considering in the win to nil market this week, while our 2-0 correct score prediction tips the hosts to notch twice for the third fixture in a row.

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