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Green Clad Azzurri Host Greece at the Olimpico

Mancini’s men could secure Euro 2020 qualification with a victory,

Italy Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Don’t be alarmed if you turn on the TV come Saturday and are confused. You may not instantly recognize Italy. The Azzurri won’t be wearing their usual blue kits this time around. It was announced a few days ago that they will be wearing a green third jersey, dubbed “The Renaissance Kit” to celebrate Italy’s rising talents. However, make no mistake, whether they’re wearing green, blue, or any other color of the rainbow, Saturday could be a big day for Mancini’s side.

Italy enters this match as the top team in Group J with a perfect 18 points in six matches; six clear of second place Finland. The Azzurri are coming off of crucial road wins in Armenia and Finland in their most recent qualifiers last month. Now the Azzurri return to the peninsula with a chance to lock up a spot in next summer’s tournament proper and potentially lock up the group as well. Italy would clinch a spot in Euro 2020 with a win Saturday and would clinch Group J by also winning in Liechtenstein on Tuesday.

Italy vs Greece: October 12th. 20:45 CET/14:45 EDT. Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Standing in the way of the Azzurri’s qualification is Greece. The Greeks have struggled throughout qualifying and haven’t found themselves victorious since match day one. Last month, Greece lost at Finland and drew at home against Liechtenstein. Those results, coupled with its poor overall form, makes this a must win for Greece. Anything less, and fifth place Greece will be eliminated from Euro 2020 qualification.

Based on their recent form, not to mention the last meeting between these two sides, the Azzurri will be favored to take care of business in the Rome. Back in June, Italy ran out three-nil winners in Athens—Barella, Insigne, and Bonucci each scored in a match where Italy out-possessed the hosts 63-37. It was a dominant performance in what looked like a potential defensive struggle.

Five Roma players were called up by Mancini, as the Giallorossi continue to establish an Azzurri contingent. Florenzi, Spinazzola, Mancini, Cristante, and Zaniolo all will be looking to impress the Italy CT, while Pellegrini misses out with his foot injury.

Of the five Romanisti in the squad, only one is expected to start in Mancini’s 4-3-3 against Greece: Leonardo Spinazzola. He’s expected to play on the left side of the defense with Leo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli central and Danilo D’ambrosio on the right. That quartet will play in front of Gigi Donnarumma.

The midfield, which has become the Azzurri’s position of strength both in talent and depth, will be composed of Mancini’s preferred trio: Jorginho, Marco Verratti, and Nicolò Barella. The attacking trident will feature Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa on the wings with Andrea Belotti at striker. However, there is a chance Lazio man Ciro Immobile gets the start at the Olimpico.

Probable Formations (According to Fox Sports Italia)

Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; D’Ambrosio, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Belotti, Insigne.

Greece (4-2-3-1): Barkas, Bakakis, Manolas, Sokratis, Tsimikas; Samaris, Bouchalakis; Fetfatzidis, Vrousai, Masouras; Koulouris.