In a few months’ time, after the win of the European Championship, they will be at the risk of not taking part in the next World Cup. Roberto Mancini’s Italy thwarted the great opportunity to go directly to the World Cup by finishing second behind Switzerland in a qualifying group that was nothing short of simple and now finds itself embroiled in these play-offs to avoid the shame of exclusion from Qatar 2022.
The first elimination match will be played at the Renzo Barbera Stadium in Palermo against North Macedonia, a team that finished behind Germany in their group.
Italy are the favorites against a rival who, however, lost only one of the five matches played in the qualifiers away from home. The last match of Roberto Mancini’s Italy was a disappointing 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland, while North Macedonia won 3-1 at home against Iceland.
Italy comes into this match fresh off a 0-0 WC Qualifiers-Europe draw against Northern Ireland.
Italy had 71 percent possession and 12 shots on goal, six of which were on target during the game. Northern Ireland had four shots on goal, two of which were on target.
The Italian defense has had a particularly good run recently, as evidenced by their recent scorelines. Italy has given little to the opposition, with four goals scored at their end in their last six games.
North Macedonia DDWLWW
North Macedonia enters this match after a 3-1 WC Qualifiers-Europe victory over Iceland in their previous match.
North Macedonia controlled the ball for 57% of the game and had 18 shots on goal, 7 of which were on target. Alioski (7′) and Elif Elmas (65′, 86′) scored. Iceland, on the other hand, had five shots on goal, one of which was on target. Iceland’s goal came from Jón Dagur Orsteinsson (54′).
A minimum of three goals have been scored in five of the last six games featuring North Macedonia.
Injured and suspended
Italy: clean bill of health and no suspension concerns.
North Macedonia: (Eljif Elmas and Tihomir Kostadinov)
Italy vs North Macedonia Predicted XI
Italy Predicted XI: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bastoni, Mancini, Emerson; Jorginho, Barella, Verratti; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne.
North Macedonia Predicted XI: Dimitrievski; S. Ristovski, Velkovski, Musliu, Alioski; Nikolov, Ademi, Bardhi; Churlinov, M. Ristovski, Trajkovski.
It will be difficult to break down the Italian side, who will most probably get a big win and also a clean sheet.
Italy is our favorite, but pay attention to the away performance of North Macedonia, who will certainly not be the sacrificial victim in Palermo. Our choice for this match is a 3-0 victory for Italy at full-time.
Italy’s rival for a place in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers will be decided at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao, assuming the Azzurri defeat North Macedonia in the other semifinal play-off. The team of Fernando Santos is clearly the favorite, driven by Cristiano Ronaldo and with the support of the home crowd.
They finished second behind Serbia in qualifying, and a 1-2 defeat to Vlahovic and his comrades in the final match proved deadly. Turkey was unable to overcome the Netherlands and had to settle for second place, two points behind the Oranje, despite a strong final sprint that included one draw and three wins.
Stefan Kuntz’s team’s most recent victory was a 2-1 victory over Montenegro.
Portugal will be aiming for a better result after losing 1-2 to Serbia in their last match in the WC Qualifiers.
Portugal had 43% possession and nine shots on goal. The only goal was scored by Renato Sanches (2′). Serbia had 11 shots on goal, three of which were on target. Serbia scored through Duan Tadi (33′) and Aleksandar Mitrovi (90′).
The quality of Portugal’s defense has been evident in recent scorelines. Portugal has been defensive, with only three goals going past their goalkeeper in their last six games.
Turkey will enter this match on the back of a 1-2 WC Qualifiers victory over Montenegro in their previous match.
Turkey controlled the ball for 73% of the time and had 16 shots on goal, eight of which were on target. Kerem Aktürkolu (22′) and Orkun Kökçü (60′) scored the goals for Turkey. Montenegro, on the other hand, had 12 shots on goal, three of which were on target. Montenegro’s only goal came from Beiraj (4′).
Turkey’s proclivity for high-scoring contests has been demonstrated by the fact that they have scored 24 goals in the last six games they’ve played, averaging four goals per match. Nine of the total have been struck by their opponents.
Injured and suspended
Portugal: Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Renato Sanches and Pepe)
Turkey: clean bill of health and no suspension concerns.
Portugal vs Turkey Predicted XI
Portugal Predicted XI: Patricio, Dalot, Inacio, Fonte, Guerreiro, Moutinho, Fernandes, Pereira, Silva, Ronaldo, Guedes
Turkey Predicted XI: Cakir, Zeki Celik, Demiral, Soyuncu, Yilmaz, Omur, Calhanoglu, Tokoz, Akturkoglu, Yilmaz, Yazici
When Portugal plays Turkey, we believe they will be able to create enough chances to score more than one goal. Turkey, on the other hand, may struggle to hit the back of the net.
Portugal are the favorites in this challenge but beware of the Turkey away from home. It is true that they have not faced big rivals in the group (and in fact against the Netherlands they lost 6-1), but everything can happen.
At the end of the game, we expect Portugal to win by a score of 2-0.
Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, seemed to have turned the page following their recent America’s Cup success. There is no more of the bashful and awkward Albiceleste of old, but a very aware team, free of inferiority issues and with a defense that is literally armored.
All of this was cemented by qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, which validated the character development of a national team that is now ready to take the next step at the international level.
On the other hand, this could be Leo Messi’s final chance to fill the void left by Diego Armando Maradona’s success and attain the same level of achievement…
Argentina will be hoping for a second win after defeating Colombia 1-0 in the WC Qualifiers-South America.
Their most recent performances highlight the importance of paying attention to Argentina’s defense. Argentina’s defense has been ruthless, resulting in a total of 1 goal in their last 6 games. However, only time will tell whether or not that pattern will be repeated in this match.
Following on from a losing effort in their last game against Uruguay in the WC Qualifiers-South America competition, Venezuela and their fans will hope to get a better result this time.
The stats don’t lie, and Venezuela has been scored against in 6 of their last 6 games, with opponents netting 12 goals in total. Defensively, Venezuela has not been doing too well.
Injured and suspended
Argentina: (Lautaro Martinez, Lizandro Martinez, Papu Gomez and Nehuen Perez)
Venezuela: clean bill of health and no suspension concerns.
Argentina vs Venezuela Predicted XI
Argentina Predicted XI: Martinez, Montiel, Pezzela, Martinez, Acuna, Lo Celso, Rodriguez, Di Maria, Correa, Ocampos, Gonzalez.
Venezuela Predicted XI: Farinez, Hernandez, Ferraresi, Chancellor, Gonzalez, Martinez, Rincon, Machis, Otero, Soteldo, Rondon
The setback sustained by Vinotinto in Uruguay’s most recent encounter was very severe and huge (4-1 for the hosts, with Cavani and his teammates already in the lead at 3-0 at half-time).
We believe Argentina will be able to create enough chances to score more than one goal when they face Venezuela, who will find it difficult to score.
As a result, we estimate Argentina will win by a score of 2-0 at the end of the game.