By 90Min
October 13, 2018

On Sunday, Poland play Italy in the Nations League. Jerzy Brzęczek's side host the former World Cup winners on match day four in Group 3 of League A.


Both teams will be desperate for a win as they each sit on a single point after two games. They each trail Portugal, who lead their group with a maximum six points from six.

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Recent Form

The two sides have met already in this group. They played out a 1-1 draw in Italy back in September. Since then, Poland have drawn a friendly with the Republic of Ireland and lost to Portugal 3-2 - Portugal being the other team in their group. 

These results come off the back of a woeful World Cup campaign which saw Poland fail to make it out of the group stages. 

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But at least Poland made the World Cup. In 2018, for the first time in their history, Italy failed to qualify for the game's biggest tournament. Sadly for the Azzurri, since that disappointment - even with new coach Roberto Mancini - form hasn't changed much.

Most recently, Italy stumbled against Ukraine in a disappointing 1-1 draw and, just like Poland, they failed to beat Portugal in the other Nations League game, losing 1-0.


Key Battle


Krzysztof Piątek vs Giorgio Chiellini

Robert Lewandowski carries a lot of weight on his shoulders in the Polish side. He often has decent talent around him in the squad, with the likes of Kamil Glik, Wojciech Szczęsny, Łukasz Piszczek, and Arkadiusz Milik to name a few. But for too long it's been almost Lewandowski's sole responsibility to bang in the goals for the Poles. 

Thankfully, he now has Krzysztof Piątek. The new Genoa striker has been in frightening form this season. In Serie A he has nine goals in seven games and in the 3-2 Portugal defeat, Piątek got his first ever international goal. If he can retain his form, Poland might just have the best international attacking duo in Europe.

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However, up against Piątek is a man more than capable of ruining any goalscorer's fun. Giorgio Chiellini has played 98 times for Italy. Across his career, Chiellini has faced forwards in red-hot form and left them feeling awfully cold.


It will be old against new when Chiellini clashes with Piątek in this fixture. Whoever wins that battle might just win the game. And just to add something to the occasion: when Chiellini returns from international duty, his Juventus side face Piątek's Genoa in Serie A. 


Team News


Lukasz Fabianski got the nod over Wojciech Szczesny last time out but the Juventus stopper could come back into Poland's team here. Jakub Blaszczykowski may have done enough to win a start after coming off the bench to score against Portugal.

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Federico Bernardeschi played as a striker against Ukraine but could be shunted out to one of the wings to accommodate Ciro Immobile, who has been brilliant for Lazio in recent years.


Predicted Lineups

Poland: Szczęsny; Kedziora, Glik, Bednarek, Jędrzejczyk; Błaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Zieliński, Kurzawa; Piątek, Lewandowski. 


Italy: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Chiellini, Bonucci, Biraghi; Jorginho, Verratti, Pellegrini;  Bernardeschi, Immobile, Insigne


Predictions


Neither team have won in the Nations League so far, and with Portugal way out ahead in the group, a draw won't really please anyone other than the group leaders. 

Predictably, Italy will look to be tight at the back while keeping possession ticking over through Jorginho and Verratti in the middle of the park. If those two can dominate the game and get the  likes of Insigne involved, Italy might get the win.

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However, with Lewandowski and Piątek on the pitch Poland can expect goals - regardless of the opposition. It will certainly be a battle, but the form of Piątek might just be enough to swing this one in Poland's favour.


Predicted Scoreline: Poland 2-1 Italy

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