Italy host Lithuania in a crucial FIFA World Cup qualifying match as the Azzuri looks to rebound from disappointing draws.
Italy made history with their goalless draw against Switzerland last week, setting a new record for undefeated in 36 international matches. The sequence began in October 2018, five months after Roberto Mancini took over as coach, and the Azzuri have now eclipsed the previous record of 35 games shared by Brazil and Spain. Italy vs Lithuania live stream, Italy vs Lithuania today, Italy vs Lithuania tv channel.
The achievement will not influence his quest to qualify for the World Cup, especially after missing the last edition played in Russia. With the World Cup taking place next year, there is a sense of optimism in Italy’s field after their magnificent triumph at UEFA Euro 2020, beating England on penalties in the final.
However, there are some concerns for the Italians after drawing their last two games. Despite that, Azzuri is still at the top of Group C. The seven points they earned from five games keep them at the top, although Switzerland breathes in second place, with two games in hand. However, Lithuania’s game comes as an opportunity to regain its scoring form after recent struggles.
Meanwhile, Lithuania is hoping to cause a surprise by beating Italy and scoring some points. Even a draw will help the team gain some momentum and motivation after losing all four games in the group so far. The last team in the group has lost both of their matches during the current international break.
The first defeat was against Northern Ireland, who scored four goals against Lithuania. Two days later, they narrowly lost to a ten-man Bulgaria to end any hope of progression. Lithuania will hope to start getting results as a matter of pride, although as things stand, even a draw seems difficult to achieve.
Team news and tactics
Roberto Mancini has a high-quality squad and in numbers. Many of his main stars could lose the opportunity to face Lithuania, but it will not worry the manager too much. Italy has a solid roster to ensure that the highest-rated players show up even without Mancini’s favorite stars.
Up to six players are potentially out of the Lithuania clash. Four of these stars are missing due to various injuries, while the other two, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Pellegrini, have returned to their clubs. The links of Manuel Lazzari, Andrea Belotti, Alex Meret and Gianluca Mancini are all injured.
After two draws in a row, Mancini is expected to shuffle his pack and experiment with his lineup against Lithuania. He could include players like Alessandro Bastoni, Matteo Pessina, Giacomo Raspadori, and Nicolo Zaniolo in his starting lineup.
Mancini will retain seasoned star Giorgio Chiellini as Bastoni’s partner at the center to have a certain level of familiarity on defense. Emerson Palmieri and Giovanni Di Lorenzo will probably be the preferred wingers.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Chiellini, Emerson; Pessina, Jorginho, Locatelli; Chiesa, Raspadori, Insigne
Lithuanian coach Valdas Urbonas does not have too many problems with his team, while the disabled list seems empty. However, he will miss key playmaker Fedor Chernykh, who has racked up too many yellow cards to be suspended for the clash against Italy.
Urbonas is expected to recruit Arvydas Novikovas into Chernykh’s forward position to keep the offensive side fluid. However, the main concern for the coach would be his defense, which has leaked, which has led the team to lose ten games of its last eleven.
A 4-2-3-1 system for Urbonas against Italy is envisaged. Rolandas Baravykas and Vaidas Slavickas could start as full-backs, supporting Edgaras Utkus and Markas Beneta in central defense.
A two-man midfield of Vykintas Slivka and Linas Megelaitis could prove disappointing in light of Italy’s quality in the area with three midfielders. However, Novikovas, who is expected to start at No. 10, could also enter central midfield to provide additional coverage when Lithuania defends.
Wide attackers Eligijus Janakauskas from the left and Donatas Kazlauskas from the right will look to exploit any space in the last third. At first, Edgaras Dubickas will assume the central role of the attack, hoping to end a losing streak of goals for his country.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Setkus; Baravykas, Utkus, Beneta, Slavickas; Slivka, Megelaitis; Jankauskas, Novikovas, Kazlauskas; Dubickas
Italy 4-0 Lithuania
When they sing, Italy is a fluid attacking unit, and Lithuania could be the perfect opponent to ignore their timid form in recent matches. After scoring just once in the last two games, despite making 37 massive shots, Italy was able to find their rhythm against Lithuania, with Chiesa and Insigne on the attack.
The European champions are overwhelming winners in this game and they expect them to score some good goals. Lithuania could continue their terrible defensive form and could find the Azzurri an unwieldy prospect. The predicted score may be a bit harsh, but Italy has the quality to punish opponents in this way.