By 90Min
September 06, 2018

Italy will take on Poland in the UEFA Nations League on Friday evening, in what will be the opening match of Group 3 in League A at the Stadio Renato Dell'Ara in Bologna.

After the ebullience of the World Cup in Russia this summer still lingering throughout the international scene, both sides will want to get off to the best possible start in Europe's all-new international competition.

The hosts will head into the match after a quiet summer for the Azzurri, failing to qualify for the World Cup will be used as a tool to galvanise the national team as former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini takes charge for his first competitive game at the helm.

Meanwhile the visitors will share a similar feeling after being knocked out during the Group Stages, with captain Robert Lewandowski having 'many sleepless nights' after their failure.

With both sides looking to get off to a flyer, we are in for a treat with emotions expected to be running high. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the big match.


Classic Encounter


Italy 3-0 Poland (30th April 1997,  World Cup 1998 Qualifying Round)

You would have to go back 21 years to find the last time that these two sides faced each other in competitive action.


The Azzurri featured a star-studded lineup as they continued on their charge to qualifying for the World Cup in France. The former Chelsea manager and UEFA Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo got the hosts off to a flyer before AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini, and the great Roberto Baggio helped Italy cruise to an easy three points at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples.


Poland had little resistance for the great Italian side and were well beaten on the night. Ranked 48th in the world at the time by FIFA, they were much lower than their superior hosts who dominated their game for 90 minutes, which saw them effectively book their tickets to Paris for the following summer's footballing festivities.


Team News

Nils Petter Nilsson/GettyImages

Roberto Mancini recalled Juventus captain Giorgio Chellini after having not played for his country since the World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden almost a year ago.


There are four uncapped players who will play in the famous blue shirt for the very first time, Cagliari's Alessio Cragno and Nicolo Barella, SPAL defender Manuel Lazzari, Fiorentina's Cristiano Biraghi and Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo have all made Mancini's 31-man squad.

PHILIPPE DESMAZES/GettyImages

A new regime will also commence for the visitors, Jerzy Brzeczek will take charge of the whites after a successful managerial career at domestic level in Poland.


With eight players of the Poland squad playing in Serie A, the Italians will be equipped with the knowledge to understand the opposition that they are up against, with captain Robert Lewandowski expected to lead the line for them once more.


With Dortmund right-back Lukasz Piszczek having announced his retirement from international football after the World Cup, new faces are expected to feature for Poland as they look to repair the damage from a disastrous summer.


Potential Lineups:


Italy: Donnarumma, Zappacosta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Criscito, Cristante, Jorginho, Pellegrini, Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.


Poland: Fabianski, Bereszynski, Glik, Kaminski, Reca, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Zielinski, Kurzawa, Milik, Lewandowski.


Predictions:

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

With both sides going into new regimes and supporters with bitter tastes in their mouths, Italy and Poland will have a point to prove during this game.


Taking the new managers and their new ideas and philosophies into consideration, both sides will be happy with a point from this one.


Prediction: Italy 1-1 Poland

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