Finland welcome table toppers Italy to Tampere for their crunch Euro 2020 qualifying match with just three points separating the sides as the Finns sit on 12 points and are in a good position for their very first qualification for a major tournament.
Italy sit on top of Group J of Euro 2020 qualification with 15 points, having won their opening five matches, the Azzurri have scored 16 times in those five games. The Italians left it late to make sure of the three points against ten-man Armenia on Thursday, but were able to run out 3-1 winners thanks to an Andrea Belotti brace and a Lorenzo Pellegrini header.
ITALY TO WIN THE GAME BY TWO GOALS
Andrea Belotti scored twice in the 3-1 win over Armenia and was denied a hattrick by an awful offside decision late in the second half after having another strike correctly ruled out in the first. The Torino hitman has now scored seven times in 23 appearances for his country and had a timely confidence boost ahead of leading the line against Finland and that could be why the bookies fancy Belotti to score.
ANDREA BELOTTI TO SCORE TWICE
Both these teams have a good defensive record in Group I with Finland conceding just twice, and both of those goals came against Italy earlier in qualifying, while the Azzurri have also let in just two goals, something will have to give in this tie.
GOAL IN BOTH HALVES
Italy will face a team that is desperate to qualify for their first major tournament but should have too much quality for Finland to cope with.
GAME TO END 0-2
Head to Head
These sides last met in March and the Azzurri ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at the Dacia Arena in Udine. The Italians have the better of the historical head to head by winning 11 of the last 12 matches between the sides, while the other tie ended as a goalless draw back in 1975.
The match to end in a draw.
Finland are having their best qualifying tournament since missing out for Euro 2008 by just three points behind Portugal and Poland and will be hoping to pick up at least a point in this tie to cement their second position in the table. The Finns topped their UEFA Nations League group and were promoted to Division B and with Norwich striker Teemu Pukki bang on form with five Premier League goals to his name so far, they have a chance of breaking down the Azzurri defence.
Italy, on the other hand, need to put in a better performance than they did in the win over Armenia as they were put under pressure by the Armenians quick counter attacks and were fortunate to not fall behind a second time before Lorenzo Pellegrini put them into a 2-1 lead. A win here for the Azzurri would pretty much ensure their qualification for next summer’s tournament.
Callum Brady is an avid football fan and overly optimistic Leeds supporter #MOT! When he is not spotted visiting Elland Road, Callum spends his time following European Football, Rugby, and has recently taken interest in the NFL. A travel enthusiast, Callum is always looking for recommendations on where to travel based on football pitches to visit.
All Predictions by Callum Brady