Italy vs Macedonia – 2018 World Cup Qualification: It is never an easy task to finish 1st on a group with Spain on it…
Italy has a relatively easy group, but they already knew that the fight for 1st place would be decided in the matches against Spain.
Despite the first draw, Spain ended up winning their 2nd match, which left Italy 3 points behind first place and practically destined to play the play-off, since there will hardly be any upsets until the end of this qualification stage.
However, the phase that the Spanish National team is going through is very dark. The country is living a complicated political situation,
there are some conflicts between players and fans, the National team is living a heavy atmosphere inside the locker room and that could give Italy some hope.
However, it will be useless to wait for Spain to slip up if they don’t win this match, and Italy will now face at home a team that caused them a lot of troubles away from home,
in a match where they had to come from behind to win, only being able to get the winning goal in injury time.
Macedonia is having a qualification stage below what I expected from them. The team is struggling to build up plays and they are a team that haven’t convinced me on the tactical organization level.
With that lack of organization, their weaknesses become more evident, both offensively and defensively.
It is obvious that Macedonia would never have a word to say in this group. They got 7 points up until this point.
What I want to say is that these 7 points don’t justify what they’ve been showing, since I expected a more organized team by now.
However, it is a team that shows a lot more physical availability when they face higher quality teams and more motivating challenges.
Even against Spain, they had already created some troubles by only losing 1-2 at home, when everything pointed towards a comfortable win for the Spaniards.
The team responds better on this kind of matches.
The team works together more which allows them to defend a bit better.
On this match, with Macedonia playing away from home, I don’t expect a very aggressive approach on the attack.
I don’t believe the team will be willing to play recklessly against Italy, despite not having anything to play for at this point.
I expect a Macedonian team more closed and playing deeper in the field, worrying a lot more about their defensive duties and only then exploring possible counter-attacks that might exist.
Italy has pressure to win here, in order to force Spain to continue their winning form until the end. They are a good team that sometimes fail to put a bit more pressure on this kind of weaker opponents.
They have quality but, although Italy says they are trying to change their image to a more flashy offensive football, the truth is that everyone still gets the impression that they like to play safe,
with a lot defensive safety and organized attacks, and that can sometimes cause them some troubles to create a lot of goal chances.
Suffice to say that when comparing the goals scored by Spain (32) to the goals scored by Italy (19)
we can clearly see Spain’s superiority, despite only being separated by 1 win (3 points) that happened on the match between them where Spain got the win.
Italy vs Macedonia – Betting Tip and Prediction:
I certainly expect a win from Italy, but I don’t think it will be a walk in the park.
I expect them to try to dominate this match and start to organize their game from there.
Macedonia should respond by dropping their lines deeper, so they defend as a closer pack, so despite expecting a win for the Italians, I don’t see them going into half-time winning by 2 goals.
I believe they will be more aggressive on the 2nd half and take advantage of Macedonia’s fatigue at that time.
|Italy – Team Goals Under 1.5 in the 1st Half||