Nations League predictions: Cagey game likely in Italy
The new Nations League campaign is in full swing and tonight’s games feature a plethora of intriguing encounters across Europe with six matches to look forward to.
Italy will look to secure three points at home to Hungary, while Finland face Montenegro and Turkey visit Lithuania in three of the eye-catching match-ups.
Italy vs Hungary (7.45pm BST)
Hungary pulled off a major coup in beating England 1-0 on Saturday and proved again that they are no pushovers, particularly at home.
They travel to Cesena to take on an Italian side that Roberto Mancini has been experimenting with in terms of team selection since their failure to qualify for the World Cup.
In the Azzurri’s 1-1 draw with Germany on Saturday, 23-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma was the highest-capped player.
Hungary by contrast leaned on their key men such as Willi Orban and goalscorer Dominik Szoboszlai in their victory over Gareth Southgate's men.
The visitors are likely to keep it tight against an inexperienced Italian forward line and this could be a cagey affair in general.
Five of Hungary’s last seven games have seen fewer than three goals and a repeat is on the cards.
Finland vs Montenegro (5pm BST)
Finland conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in their Nations League opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina but they could get immediate compensation when they face Montenegro.
The Finns finished just a point behind Ukraine in World Cup qualifying and have some very capable players in their squad, namely goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, midfielder Glen Kamara and striker Teemu Pukki.
Montenegro did get a 2-0 win on Saturday over Romania but were beaten by Armenia recently and failed to make any meaningful inroads in their World Cup qualification group.
The visitors have also lost three of their last four away from home.
In a competitive section, Finland could give themselves a path to qualification for Euro 2024 and that may begin with victory against Montenegro.
Lithuania vs Turkey (7.45pm BST)
Dropping into this Nations League group has been something of a fortuitous moment for Turkey and they took full advantage in their opening game, beating Faroe Islands 4-0.
The Crescent Stars recently hired Stefan Kuntz as head coach after a poor Euro 2020 campaign under former boss Senol Gunes.
Qualification for the next European Championships will be the new manager’s aim after they missed out on the World Cup, beaten by Portugal in the play-off semi-final.
Their opponents here, Lithuania, only just avoided relegation in the last Nations League campaign and finished bottom of their section in World Cup qualification.
The hosts were beaten 2-0 by Luxembourg on Saturday and are likely to face a long night in Vilnius.
Turkey have netted 15 goals in their last five matches and look like racking up the score again when they face this Lithuania squad.
The Crescent Stars’ last six games have all seen three or more goals and the same can follow again here in what should be a comfortable Turkish victory.