Italy vs Austria EURO 2020 Detailed Picks and Preview
The Euro 2020 knockout stages are here, and a chance at glory lies in the balance. Italy and Austria will meet from Wembley Stadium this Saturday to start things off.
HISTORY: Italy and Austria have clashed 35 times with the Italian leading the all-time series 16-11-8. Let’s see which way will Italy vs Austria EURO 2020 clash go!
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Austria: Tale of the Tape
Lineup: Bachmann; Lainer, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Alaba; Laimer, Grillitsch, X. Schlager; Sabitzer, Baumgartner; Arnautovic
Austria played their way into a knockout spot after a hard fought 1-0 win over Ukraine. The Austrians out shot their opponents 18-5 in the must-win game. They yielded mixed results through three contests, but they totaled a healthy six points and will look to up the Italians this weekend.
Franco Foda will likely deploy the same 4-3-2-1 formation that’s worked through three games against Italia. Watford keeper David Bachmann should make his ninth cap in goal, with the three-man front of Freiburg’s Philipp Lienhart, Frankfurt’s Martin Hinteregger, and Real’s David Alaba.
The former Bayern Munich stud is the heartbeat of the team and he’ll make his 84th cap. He’s going to have to make his presence felt on both sides of the ball, and Foda should explore moving Alaba higher in the formation after dishing out two assists during the group stages.
The Mönchengladbach combo of Konrad Laimer and Stefan Lainer will flank Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch, and the Red Bull duo of Marcel Sbitzer and Andreas Ulmer, with the latter more than likely falling in a deeper role to handle to attack of the Italians. Ulmer was huge in the win over Ukraine, as Austria held them to just five shots.
Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer and Hoffenheim’s Christolph Baumgartner will look to create chances against an Italy back line that hasn’t been breached in ten matches. Things will be very tough, and Marko Arnautovic will need to convert what he receives. The 6’4 hunter represents their best threat on goal and the best chance the Austrians have of pulling off an upset.
Italy: Tale of the Tape
Lineup: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Bonucci, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
After uncharacteristically missing the 2018 World Cup, Italy opened the tournament with a dominating 3-0 over Turkey, then followed it up with an identical pounding of Switzerland. Wales played them tough, but the Italians prevailed with 1-0 win and cruised to a Group A victory.
The longtime center-back pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci continues to hold the fort. Two-thirds of the infamous Italy Wall, Chiellini, and Bonucci will bring brute and leadership to a young, talented squad. The Juventus pairing has over 250 caps combined. Roma’s Leonardo Spinazzola and PSG’s Alessandro Florenzi will join them on the outside, while the former was named Man of the Match for his defensive mastery against Turkey. Gigi Donnarumma will make his 29th cap in goal.
Italy continues to win at the midfield. Marco Verrati will be joined by Chelsea’s Jorginho and Inter’s Nicolo Barella. Jorginho is coming off of a magical Champions’ winning campaign, and the deep-lying playmaker served as the glue for Thomas Tuchel’s turnaround at Chelsea this season. Barella featured and helped Inter capture the Seria A crown in his first year with the club.
Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne will look to get things going up top. Immobile is coming off of another stellar campaign with Lazio, netting 25 goals and garnering another trip to Europa League. Insigne remains consistent and the Napoli striker has scored in each of the past four big tournaments.
Both Serie A studs found the back of the net in the win over Turkey, and they will look to give the Austrian back line some trouble. Sassuolo stud Domenico Berardi has scored in four of his past six caps.
Players to Watch
The longtime PSG midfielder made his first appearance in the 1-0 win over Wales. He immediately made his presence felt by being all over the pitch and dishing out an assist on the Group A winning goal. Austria should give the Italians another slow, grind-it-out kind of game, but with Verratti back and patrolling in the midfield, that falls right into the Italians favor.
David Alaba operated at the heart of the three-man Austrian defense. He offered the much-needed solidity in the middle but was forced to play in a more attacking role in the second half. It paid off though, with the newly-signed Real Madrid superstar helping Austria make it to the knockout stages. Austria will need his best today, he’s a big key.
Italy vs Austria Prediction & Pick
This should be a well-contested battle. Austria won’t lay down here, as this is the first time in over 25 years they’ve advanced to knockout stages. They will be playing a tough, inspired game but Italia has been locked in and they truly look like contenders to win this whole tournament.
Italy hasn’t conceded in ten matches, and I don’t see their backline being breached here. The Italians are extremely well-rounded and should overwhelm the Austrians on both sides of the ball. Bet on Italy to win, and over 1.5 goals.
Prediction: ITA 2 AUS 0