Italy vs Northern World Cup Live Football Score 25 Mar 2021
Italy get their qualification campaign for Qatar 2022 underway on Thursday, as the Azzurri face Northern Ireland at Parma’s Stadio Ennio Tardini.
The opening match of Group C for both sides could set the tone for their hopes of making it to the first end-of-year World Cup in the competition’s long and illustrious history.
For the opening three matches in qualification for Qatar 2022 – which comes around after their campaign to reach Russia ended in playoff failure – Italy coach Roberto Mancini has called up a substantial 38-man squad, featuring several new faces who could be set to shine at the European Championship finals this summer.
Both Spezia’s Matteo Ricci and Rafael Toloi, of Atalanta, have been selected for the first time – Brazil-born defender Toloi has just obtained clearance from FIFA in order to change nationality, taking advantage of his Italian heritage – and joined a diverse group at the Coverciano training facility, ahead of the visit of Northern Ireland on Thursday.
Among the call-ups from outside Serie A are three ‘Parisians’ – Alessandro Florenzi, Moise Kean and Marco Verratti – plus forward Vincenzo Grifo, of Bundesliga side Freiburg, as Mancini aims to get off to a flying start in Group C and also sift through the contenders for a place in his squad in June.
Italy v Northern Ireland team news
Italy: Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi are all likely to miss this tie, while Bryan Cristante is injured.
Juventus centre-backs Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini should anchor the defence, while Gian Marco Ferrari, Rafael Toloi and Matteo Ricci may all earn debuts.
Northern Ireland: Conor Washington is the only injury issue for Northern Ireland, with Kyle Lafferty potentially leading the line.
Accrington Stanley forward Dion Charles might also earn a debut in Parma. Leeds’ Stuart Dallas and Jonny Evans of Leicester will provide experience in the heart of the side.
Italy v Northern Ireland odds
In working partnership with the Radio Times, bet365 has provided the following betting odds for this event:
bet365 odds: Italy (1/7) Draw (13/2) Northern Ireland (16/1)*
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Our prediction: Italy v Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland will have to catch Italy on a bad day to get a result here, especially with Washington out injured.