Italy vs England predictions: Group C rivals tough to split in Naples
Euro 2024 qualifying begins on Thursday and the game of the night could come in Naples where Italy host England in Group C.
Having met in the Euro 2020 final, which the Azzurri won on penalties after a 1-1 draw, the pair most recently clashed twice in the Nations League last year.
That 90-minute outcome at Wembley is one of the four draws these two have played out in their last five meetings, the odd one out being last September's 1-0 win for Italy in Milan.
With two teams qualifying automatically from every group, another stalemate might not be a bad outcome for these sides.
Federico Chiesa (knee), Federico Dimarco (muscle) and Ivan Provedel (illness) have left the Italy camp, while Giacomo Raspadori, who scored the only goal in Milan, and Ciro Immobile are both out with thigh issues.
Emerson Palmieri and Marco Carnesecchi have both been called-up, with the latter one of four Azzurri players looking to win their first cap alongside Wladimiro Falcone, Alessandro Buongiorno and Argentina-born striker Mateo Retegui.
Marcus Rashford (knock), Mason Mount (pubic bone) and Nick Pope (knock) have withdrawn from England duty, with Fraser Forster called in to replace the latter after impressing in his stint as Spurs first choice keeper.
Ben White, Raheem Sterling, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson all miss out after being part of the World Cup squad, but Harry Maguire is retained by Gareth Southgate, despite falling down the pecking order at Manchester United.
The pair have played each other five times since Italy's 2-1 win at the World Cup in 2014, with four of their meetings ending in draws.
They have also both been relatively strong defensively. Italy have kept clean sheets in their last two competitive games, both being in the Nations League, while England recorded three shutouts in five matches as they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup.
A player to watch could be England captain Harry Kane. The striker both scored a penalty and missed one in the last eight in Qatar against France and is now level with Wayne Rooney as his country's record goalscorer on 53 goals.
These two look to be the standout sides in Group C, which also includes Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta.
Therefore, this game might be a case of both trying not to lose, rather than going out for the win, in a bid to avoid having to play catch-up.
A cagey clash is likely in Naples, with neither Roberto Mancini nor Southgate known as coaches who like to go on the attack.
Recent history suggests these teams have found a formula for cancelling each other out and another tight game looks likely in Naples.
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