Likely lineups, predictions, tactics, team news, and key stats

Italy will kick off their preparations for the next European Championship when they face the Czech Republic in a friendly on Friday.

Italy’s head coach Roberto Mancini will have his only chance to experiment with his squad ahead of Euro 2020, as his squad take on the Czech Republic in an international friendly on Friday.

This game will be organized at the Renato Dall’Ara in Bologna, with the Azurris are expected to travel to Rome shortly after the game, where they will host all three group matches of Euro 2020.

Despite the habit of disappointing in major international competitions lately, Italy has been in good shape heading into the tournament. They started their World Cup qualifying campaign with three straight wins against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

Mancini’s men also claimed a massive 7-0 victory over San Marino in the final friendly, late last month. Their opponent, the Czech Republic, on the other hand, had a mixed start to the qualifying campaign, starting with a 6-2 loss to Estonia before losing 1-0 to Wales in a key encounter.

However, Jaroslav Silhavy’s troops hope to divert their attention to the upcoming Euro by winning over Italy in this friendly match. And here at The Hard Tackle, we’ll be enforcing the rule on those two teams before this game this Friday.

Team news and tactics


The last friendly against San Marino saw Mancini mainly using his less-used players, and so this is the last warm-up game before the Euro, we can expect the former Manchester City manager gives some of his best players a run.

Alessandro Bastoni, for his part, is tipped for a center-back debut, as he looks to team up with Leonardo Bonucci at the heart of Italy’s four-way backline. Much will be on the shoulders of the young Inter defender, who is being touted as the future of Italian defense.

Leonardo Spinazzola and Giovanni Di Lorenzo are expected to complete the last four, as he hopes to protect Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal. It will be an important game for the very talented goalkeeper, who is due to leave AC Milan this summer.

In midfield, Mancini might want to favor Manuel Locatelli in the midfielder role as he looks to extend Jorginho’s leave after making the Champions League final. Locatelli could therefore team up with Bryan Cristante and Nicolo Barella in the three-way midfielder, although both are expected to operate in a more advanced role.

Barella’s bonding game with Federico Chiesa, in particular, could be an integral part of creating Italy’s luck. The same goes for Spinazzola and Lorenzo Insigne on the opposite flank, as they look to support center forward Giacomo Raspadori, who is set to make his debut after being surprisingly called up to the Italian squad.

Probable composition (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Bastoni, Spinazzola; Barella, Locatelli, Cristante; Chiesa, Raspadori, Insignia


Czech Republic

Much like Italy, the Czech Republic are also expected to field a solid roster – a roster that could even start in their first game against Scotland at Euro 2020.

Jaroslav Silhavy has some exciting players at his disposal, perhaps no more than Patrick Schick, who should spearhead the attack ahead of Matej Vydra and Tomas Pekhart

Things get interesting in the wider positions, where Silhavy must find a competent replacement for Lukas Provod. Adam Hlozek is a real contender, ahead of Antonin Barak while Jakub Jankto should continue on the opposite flank, these two trying to serve Schick upstream.

In midfield, Silhaly must choose between Barak and Vladimir Darida in the number ten / number eight hybrid, just ahead of the double pivot of Tomas Holes and Tomas Soucek – the heart of the Czech team.

Defensively, another West Ham star guaranteed to start is Vladimir Coufal at the right-back, with David Zima, Ondrej Celustka and Jan Boril completing the backline which will protect Jiri Pavlenka in goal.

Probable composition (4-3-3): Vaclik; Coufal, Zima, Celustka, Boril; Holes, Soucek, Darida; Hlozek, Schick, Jankto


Key statistics

  • The two teams last met in 2013 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup European qualifiers. Italy won the affair 2-1, thanks to goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Mario Balotelli.
  • Despite Italy’s fame, it was only their second victory against the Czech Republic in six games. (2W, 2L, 2D)
  • the Azurri have won 2-0 in their last five matches in all competitions.
  • Roberto Mancini’s men have also missed only one clean sheet in their last nine matches.
  • The Czech Republic, on the other hand, have kept just two clean sheets in their last 15 matches.

Player to watch

Adam hlozek

Adam Hlozek made headlines in Europe this season with his performances with Sparta Prague last season. At just 18, the striker has scored 15 goals in just 18 matches, while his overall pace of work, attacking awareness and speed have fascinated football analysts across the football world.

Hlozek has already won two caps for the Czech Republic, and a strong performance against Italy could go a long way to helping him become one of his country’s first-team holders at the next Euro.

The coveted competition will give the youngster an ideal platform to showcase his abilities, perhaps even making a big buck at a top club in the summer. Hlozek is therefore definitely the one to watch, in this friendly rather interesting meeting in Bologna.


Italy 2-0 Czech Republic

Italy are the undisputed favorites of this meeting because they have the advantage at home and arrive on the back in an interesting form. Mancini succeeded in adding this belief among the Azurri camp which will be decisive not only in this friendly match but also in the next Euro.

The Czech Republic have a strong attacking unit, as well as a solid midfield setup, brilliantly led by players like Holes, Soucek and Darida, but their defense could disappoint them on Friday.

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