Italy is hosting Finland in round 1 of Euro Cup qualifications.
After missing out on last years World Cup Italian soccer association decided to fire coach Ventura due to a bad game style and poor results and Roberto Mancini, Italian legendary player and coach was signed in May of 2018. After his signing, some younger players like Veratti, Zaniolo, Barella and Chiessa started to get more opportunities and after some adjustment period Italy finally started playing good soccer and with that better results came. In their last game against USA, Italy looked great with 73% ball possession, 6 shots on goal and have won that game 1-0. In these qualifications, Italy is in a group with Armenia, Bosnia, Finland, Greece and Liechtenstein and are main favorites to win this group. Italy haven’t lost any of their last 12 home matches and haven’t lost any of their last 4 games overall and I’m sure that coach Mancini will get his players ready and will put out his strongest lineup and start this cycle with a win.
Finland is an average team that has been playing hot and cold for a while now. Even though Finland has won their group in Nations league last year with impressive 12 points against some good teams like Greece and Hungary I’m not giving them a lot of chances in this Euro Cup qualifications and I don’t think they will qualify for Euro Cup simply because they lack quality and consistency. Finland’s best player is their goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky who is also their most expensive player with a worth of 10.7 million euros which say a lot about rest of the team. Finland has some young and talented players like Lappalainen, Karjalainen and Jensen but they lack experience to make a difference on the field. In their last game against Estonia, Finland had 55% ball possession, 8 shots on goal and 6 corner kicks and still ended up loosing the game 2-1 against one of the worst national teams in Europe, a team that has won only 3 out of their last 15 games. Problem for Finland is that soccer is just not enough developed yet and young talented players are not being developed properly.
In this matchup I’m not giving a lot of chance to Finland and I see Italy scooping up a victory here and starting these qualifications on a positive note.