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Italy v Portugal betting preview
Italy ended a five-match winless streak across competitions last time outItaly are two points adrift of their opponents, following their 1-0 win away to Poland last month. That win was Mancini’s first in official competitions in charge of Italy. Anyway, Portugal have a game in hand at home to already eliminated Poland still to play. The Azzuri are unbeaten in eleven home games (W4, D7) with all four of these victories accompanied by a clean sheet. They played at San Siro just one year ago when a 0-0 result versus Sweden in that same venue saw them fail to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in sixty years
Federico Bernardeschi has withdrawn from the Italy squad meaning that Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne will support the central forward Ciro Immobile up front. Strikers Andrea Belotti and Mario Balotelli have both been left out. 21-year-old Cagliari midfielder Nicolò Barella will hope to solidify a spot in central midfield alongside Jorginho and Marco Verratti. No changes are expected in defesne with Alessandro Florenzi and Cristiano Biraghi flanking Juventus' duo Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. The likes of Sandro Tonali, Stefano Sensi and Vincenzo Grifo have all been handed their first senior call-ups.
Portugal boast a three-match winning streak now behind themPortugal come into the game unbeaten in four and having won their last three fixtures in all competitions. They know they only need a point versus the Azzurri on Saturday to ensure they win Group A3. Fernando Santos' men have won the last two encounters between the sides, including when these two sides first met each other in the Nations League back in September. They built on the success as they beat Poland (2-3) and Scotland (1-3) in two exciting games since then.
The visitors are without Cristiano Ronaldo once again while Wolves' Hélder Costa has been left out after featuring in October. Everton midfielder Andre Gomes has withdrawn because of injury. Former AC Milan striker Andrè Silva will lead the line, supported by three offensive midfielders - Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and one between Rafa and Bruma. Thiago Neves will partner William Carvalho in the middle of the park while Neto is expected to replace the suspended Pepe in defense. Jose Fonte provide a further option at the heart of the back while Joao Cancelo and Mario Rui are likely to start as full backs.
Italy v Portugal Starting Lineups Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Biraghi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Florenzi; Verratti, Jorginho, Barella; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
Portugal (4-2-3-1): Rui Patricio; Cancelo, Neto, Dias, Mario Rui; W.Carvalho, Neves; Rafa, B.Fernandes, B.Silva; A.Silva
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