Italy vs Belgium Preview, Livestream, odds and Possible Lineup

Italy vs Belgium Preview, Livestream, odds and Possible Lineup

Italy vs Belgium predictions/Preview ahead of this UEFA Nations League clash on Sunday. Can Italy bounce back after seeing their long unbeaten run ended? 

  • Five of Italy’s last seven have seen both teams score
  • Belgium have scored in their last 39 internationals
  • Lukaku has scored nine goals in his last nine internationals

Back goals in open game
The World Cup’s third/fourth playoff tends to be an open one, with neither side really taking the clash seriously. Having the same playoff in the UEFA Nations League feels wholly unnecessary, but who are we to complain about another top-class clash in a very quiet weekend?

While there isn’t a huge prize at stake there’s plenty of reason to expect an open game. Belgium are fresh from losing a 3-2 thriller against France, while Italy’s 37-game unbeaten run was ended in a 2-1 defeat by Spain.

The Italians have now seen both teams score in five of their last seven games, a run which started with a 2-1 victory over Belgium at Euro 2020. The Red Devils have scored in their last 39 internationals, so back both teams to find the net when these two clash in Turin.

Lukaku finding form
A big bonus for the Belgians was Romelu Lukaku’s impact against France. He scored one and assisted the other as the Red Devils took a 2-0 lead over the world champions. That ended a five-game run without a goal for the Chelsea man, but his international form is fantastic.

Lukaku has scored in each of his last four games for Belgium, a run which started with a strike against Italy in the summer. Lukaku has scored nine goals across his last nine appearances for his country, so back him to find the net against Italy once again.

Belgium to make a point
Roberto Mancini is expected to make some big changes to his side ahead of the third-place game, with many top names set to be handed a break. That offers an opportunity for Belgium, a side who could really use a big win after years of underachievement.

Roberto Martinez has options to rotate as well, but he’s expected to use plenty of big names and we see this as a chance for Belgium to claim a big scalp. Italy’s weakened side should be vulnerable, so back Belgium to reverse the defeat they suffered in the summer. A 2-1 win for the Red Devils is my correct score selection.

Team News

The hosts will be without the lynchpin of their defence, Ballon d'Or nominated Leonardo Bonucci, after his dismissal against Spain, so Roberto Mancini may bring in his Juventus colleague Giorgio Chiellini on Sunday afternoon.

As Ciro Immobile was previously ruled out of the squad through injury, and Juve striker Moise Kean picked up a knock on Wednesday, the diminutive Giacomo Raspadori should start rather than Mancini's experiment with a 'false nine', Federico Bernardeschi, being continued.

Raspadori came off the bench twice last month and made his full Azzurri debut against Lithuania, scoring once and forcing an own goal, so is now likely to get his chance in this high-profile encounter.

Belgium, meanwhile, could rotate their XI more substantially, as they played 24 hours after their Italian counterparts and suffered a morale-sapping second-half collapse.

Reliable veterans of squads past, including Thomas Meunier, Thorgan Hazard, Dries Mertens and Christian Benteke were not included by Roberto Martinez for these Nations League finals, so the next generation such as Italy-based duo Alexis Saelemaekers and Arthur Theate may be given an opportunity to shine.

Another elder member of the Red Devils, Eden Hazard, is a doubt after appearing to suffer yet another injury during the defeat to France. The Real Madrid playmaker was withdrawn shortly before the final whistle and will be assessed ahead of Sunday's game, as Leandro Trossard stands ready to replace him.

Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Chiellini, Bastoni, Dimarco; Barella, Locatelli, Pellegrini; Chiesa, Raspadori, Berardi

Belgium possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen; Saelemaekers, Vanaken, Witsel, Carrasco; Lukebakio, Lukaku, Trossard
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