Kick-off: Friday, March 23 @7:45 PM GMT
Venue: Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
Head to head record
Italy vs Argentina 1-2 (2013 Friendly International)
Italy vs Argentina 1-2 (2001 Friendly International)
Italy vs Argentina 1-1 (1990 World Cup)
Italy vs Argentina 1-1 (1986 World Cup)
Italy vs Argentina 2-1 (1982 World Cup)
Argentina vs Italy prediction
Argentina and Italy face each other at Etihad Stadium in a friendly in what is expected to be one of the most entertaining games of Friday’s program.
Embarrassing loss to Nigeria
Argentina were playing below expectations in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but they eventually made it to the finals of the showpiece tournament in Russia. Barcelona ace Leo Messi was on top of his game in the decider against Ecuador and, no doubt, all eyes will be on the Argentina magician when la Albiceleste take on Iceland in the opening match of their 2018 World Cup campaign. Argentina, though, need to take on Italy and Spain in warm-up games first and Jorge Sampaoli’s men will be looking to make amends for a shocking 4-2 loss to Nigeria when they face the Azzurri at Etihad Stadium. Leo Messi was rested against the Super Eagles, but the Barcelona top scorer returns to the starting line-up against Italy and he is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders. Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has netted 15 goals in the Serie A so far this season, is likely to lead the line for Jorge Sampaoli’s team.
Kun Aguero is unlikely to be risked against Italy, whilst Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi have been left out of the squad. PSG winger Angel Di Maria has been in a fine form of late and he is pushing for a start.
Against all odds, Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, with the team losing to Sweden in the play-offs. As a result, coach Giampiero Ventura was sacked, with Luigi di Biagio taking over the reins. The Azzurri are ready for a new beginning, but it remains to be seen if the new coach is going to make his Italy debut with a win over Argentina. Luigi di Biagio has a number of young and talented players to choose from, but experienced attacker Ciro Immobile, who has been scoring goals for fun with Lazio this season, is likely to lead the line for the visitors against Argentina. The Italians are seen as underdogs in Friday’s friendly and they are widely expected to rely on their rock-solid defence against Leo Messi and Co. You should bear in mind that it has been 36 years since Italy recorded their last win over Argentina in a competitive match.
Giorgio Chiellini is likely to miss the match with an injury, whilst Valencia attacker Simone Zaza has been left out of the squad. Milan youngster Patrick Cutrone is likely to start against Argentina.
- Italy recorded their last win over Argentina back in 1982
- Both teams scored in each of their last five meetings
- Leo Messi scored 7 goals for Argentina on the road to Russia
- Under 2.5 goals were netted in each of last five Italy’s games
- Ciro Immobile has netted 24 goals in the Serie A so far this term
Argentina vs Italy betting pick
Argentina are desperate to make amends for an upsetting 4-2 loss to Nigeria and seeing that key player Leo Messi returns to the squad, there is a big value in betting on the South American giants. Italy are low on confidence after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, which is yet another reason why home win should be considered.
Pick: Argentina to win