Italy vs Argentina: Match Preview & Predictions
Italy vs Argentina
International Friendly Match
Date: Friday, 23rd March 2018
Kick-off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Etihad Stadium (Manchester).
Lionel Messi and Argentina kick start their preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2018 with a friendly against unsettled Italy on Friday evening. The match will be played at a neutral venue in Manchester, before the Albiceleste travel to Madrid to take on Spain four days later. While, the Azzurri make a short trip to Wembley to conclude their round of March friendlies against England.
The losing finalists of 2014 World Cup, Argentina had a rough patch in the qualifiers this term. They only edged it on final matchday with a 3-1 win away at Ecuador. Their campaign was also marred by managerial changes, ultimately the team found condolence in the hands of Jorge Sampaoli, the Argentine born coach who had an excellent tournament at Brazil 4 years ago.
Meanwhile, Italy’s fortunes were not as good as their South American counterparts. They lost the play-offs to Sweden and failed to make it to the global tournament for the first time in 60 years. Needless to say that this is a team in decline, having failed to qualify from the group stage of the competition in last two attempts.
Despite the problems on-pitch, Italy are yet to find a permanent replacement for Gian Piero Ventura who was sacked at the wake of playoff elimination. The u-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio will manage the team for the friendlies in March on a temporary basis.
Italy vs Argentina: Head-to-head
- Argentina won 2-1 in their last two friendlies against Italy.
- The Albiceleste are unbeaten in the last four meetings with the Azzurri with 3 wins and 1 draw.
- Italy’s last win over Argentina can be dated back to the 1982 World Cup.
- Both teams scored in the last five meetings between the two sides.
Italy vs Argentina: Predictions
Both teams have a point to prove despite the round of matches in March being friendly in nature. Therefore, punters must expect a fiercely contested battle on Friday night.
However, I do feel the Argentines got a better edge in this game, especially with Italy lacking the service of veteran center-back Giorgio Chiellini.
Correct Full-Time Score: 2-1 win for Argentina