On Thursday night, Italy will host Bulgaria in the fourth round of the World Cup’s European qualifiers. The meeting will take place at the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence.
Fresh from their great Euro 2020 triumph, the Azzurri’s confidence is higher than ever, and will be looking to continue their march towards an expected qualification to Qatar 2022.
Roberto Mancini’s men have already won all of their first three qualifiers in the same 2-0 result – including an away fixture against the Bulgarians themselves.
They say you don’t change a winning team, and thus, Mancini will be expected to make only one change from the regular formation that brought the European Championship trophy back to Rome.
According to Football Italia, captain Giorgio Chiellini will be dropped from the starting formation as he’s facing some minor physical problems.
The Juventus legend should be on the bench, with his longtime teammate Leonardo Bonucci wearing the armband in his stead, and Lazio’s Francesco Acerbi replacing him in the starting XI. Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Emerson Palmieri should complete the backline in front of Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Marco Verratti, Jorginho and Nicolo Barella should be maintained as the main midfield trio, with new Juventus signing, Manuel Locatelli, starting on the pitch.
Upfront, Federico Chiesa should start on the right wing, with Lorenzo Insigne on the opposite flank and Ciro Immobile in-between them. The young Juventus star will therefore return to the stadium that witnessed his rise to stardom during his time at Fiorentina.
Here are the full probable lineups:
Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
Bulgaria (3-5-2): Naumov; Turitsov, Antov, Bozhikov; Karagaren, Chochev, Kostadinov, Vitanov, Nedelev; Delev, Iliev