Italy will be looking to keep their World Cup qualifying hopes alive when they host North Macedonia on Thursday at 7:45pm (UK time).
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Where to watch Italy vs North Macedonia on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Arena
- US: ESPN+
Roberto Mancini’s men struggled to find form after winning Euro 2020 and finished second in their group behind Switzerland, having to negotiate the play-offs to avoid missing back-to-back World Cups. North Macedonia, meanwhile, are in search of a first ever World Cup appearance having made their European Championship debut just last year.
Italy team news
Giovanni Di Lorenzo has had to pull out of the Italian squad after suffering a knee injury in Napoli’s win over Udinese at the weekend, being replaced by Mattia De Sciglio. Also missing out through injury is Federico Chiesa, while Federico Bernardeschi and Mario Balotelli haven’t been called up despite taking part in a training camp in January.
Leonardo Bonucci is in the squad but still may not be fit to start against North Macedonia, so Francesco Acerbi could join Giorgio Chiellini at the heart of the Italian defence.
Italy predicted XI: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Chiellini, Emerson; Verratti, Jorginho, Barella; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne.
North Macedonia team news
Adis Jahovic has had to withdraw from the North Macedonia squad due to injury and is not the only absentee for the visitors. Although FIFA agreed to let UEFA wipe out yellow cards for the players so that players won’t miss finals for a booking in their first matches, those who are already due to serve a suspension for the semi-finals will still be unavailable.
That’s unfortunate for North Macedonia, as it means both Elif Elmas and Tihomir Kostadinov will miss the trip to Italy, with the latter serving a second suspension of World Cup qualifying – receiving four yellow cards in just six matches.
North Macedonia predicted XI: Dimitrievski; Ristovski, Velkovski, Musliu, Alioski; Ademi, Nikolov, Bardhi; Churlinov, Ristovski, Trajkovski.
Italy vs North Macedonia betting tips from Squawka Bet
- Marco Verratti to be shown a card @ 3/1 with Bet365
- Under 2.5 goals @ 22/19 with SBK
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Scoreline prediction: Italy 2-0 North Macedonia
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