UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Italy preview

November 13th, 2019
Back UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Italy preview

Bosnia and Herzegovina are hoping to qualify for their first ever final tournament of the European Championship, but in order to achieve that dream they would have to win their last two UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying group matches. The first will take place on Friday, when Bosnia host Group J leaders Italy at Bilino Polje in Zenica. The reverse fixture was the first ever meeting between the two sides and was won 2-1 by Italy, who fought back from 1-0 down. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina are still in with a chance to finish second behind Italy in this group, they are fourth at the moment, tied on 10 points with Armenia, and five points behind second-placed Finland. In theory Finland have an easy match at the same time, at home against Liechtenstein, but if they fail to win then things could get quite complicated as they visit Greece in the last round while Bosnia will take on Liechtenstein. Bosnia defeated Finland 2-1 in October, but three days later they lost with the same score in Greece. Star striker Edin Dzeko missed those two games but now he is fit and ready to play. 

Italy have been flawless so far in this campaign and booked their place at Euro 2020 with two games to spare. They have won eight out of eight matches so far, scoring an impressive 25 goals and conceding just three. This is exactly what they had to do in order to regain their fans' support after having failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Marco Verratti, Leonardo Spinazzola and Domenico Berardi have withdrawn from the squad due to injuries, while head coach Roberto Mancini might field an experimental side in order to test some other players than his first-team regulars. 

Probable line-ups: 

Bosnia: Sehic - Kvrzic, Bicakcic, Kovacevic, Kolasinac - Saric, Pjanic, Cimirot - Visca, Dzeko, Gojak

Italy: Donnarumma - Lorenzo, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Biraghi - Zaniolo, Jorginho, Barella - Bernardeschi, Immobile, El Shaarawy

My prediction: 

Bosnia have the safety cushion of the play-offs, they already have a place there thanks to their results in the UEFA Nations League. However, qualification is not at all guaranteed from the playoff, so they will surely be determined to beat Italy and push for second spot. Their impetus will surely depend on what happens between Finland and Liechtenstein, an early goal there for Finland would definitely affect morale for Bosnia. Considering all that, I think that Italy will manage to snatch a 1-1 draw. 

Here are the odds for the match at NetBet

Bosnia win - 3.00

Draw - 3.45

Italy win - 2.30

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