By 90Min
September 04, 2019

International football takes centre stage once more over the coming week, with teams looking to edge closer to securing a place in next year's European Championships. 

On Thursday night, Group J leaders Italy will aim to continue their 100% start to qualifying when they travel to Armenia. The hosts currently sit third in the group and will move to within three points of Italy with a win.

Here's our preview ahead of the contest.


Where to Watch


When Is Kick Off? Thursday 5 September
What Time Is Kick Off? 17:00 (BST)
Where Is It Played? Hanrapetakan Stadium, Yerevan
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports Football (UK)
Referee? Daniel Siebert

Where to Buy Tickets

The Football Federation of Armenia announced last week that approximately 80% of tickets for the game have already been sold. There are still a limited number available at the ticket office next to the stadium in Yerevan.


Team News

Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Armenia do not have any fresh injury worries from the last time the squad met up over the summer. They will be able to welcome back defender Andre Calisir, who missed their last two games when he got married back in June.

All eyes will be on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who secured a loan move from Arsenal to Roma on Monday. He is the standout name in this side and will be tasked with posing Italy's defence some problems.

Meanwhile, Italy were dealt a major blow when Giorgio Chiellini suffered an ACL injury in training last Friday with Juventus, ruling the veteran defender out for six months. Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli is the obvious replacement as the left-sided centre back. 

Chiellini is joined on the sidelines by right back Mattia De Sciglio and winger Lorenzo Insigne, who picked up muscle problems over the weekend.


Predicted Lineups


Armenia Hayirapetyan; Hovhannisyan, Calisir, Haroyan, Hambardzumyan; Grigoryan, Mkrtchyan, Mkhitaryan; Barseghyan, Ghazaryan, Adamyan.
Italy Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Emerson; Verratti, Jorginho, Barella; Bernardeschi, Chiesa, Immobile.

Head to Head Record

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

The two sides have only met twice before in competitive matches, with Italy having won one, whilst the other game was drawn. Those clashes came back in 2012 and 2013, as the two teams tried to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Italy won the first meeting 3-1, with Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo goals proving enough to see off a stubborn Armenian side.

The return encounter came with Italy already qualified, and it showed. The team put in a lacklustre display, drawing 2-2 and having to come from behind twice in the game. Mario Balotelli netted the second equaliser that day.


Recent Form

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Armenia come into this match off the back of successive victories in June. Another win here would keep them firmly in the hunt for a spot at Euro 2020.

Having failed to qualify for last year's World Cup, Italy are continuing to rebuild under Roberto Mancini. The team are unbeaten in their last eight games, a run stretching back to last September.

Here's how the two sides have fared in their last five games.

Armenia Italy
Greece 2-3 Armenia (11/6/19) Italy 2-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina (11/6/19)
Armenia 3-0 Liechtenstein (8/6/19) Greece 0-3 Italy (8/6/19)
Armenia 0-2 Finland (26/3/19) Italy 6-0 Liechtenstein (26/3/19)
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2-1 Armenia (23/3/19) Italy 2-0 Finland (23/3/19)
Liechtenstein 2-2 Armenia (19/11/18) Italy 1-0 USA (20/11/18)

Prediction

Filippo Alfero/GettyImages

This game will mark the halfway point in the group for both sides, and Italy will be confident of securing their fifth straight win here.

This Italian team does not have the aura of previous sides, but it is quietly going about its business under Mancini, and they should have enough to see off Armenia.

Prediction: Armenia 0-2 Italy

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