Tonight, Roberto Mancini’s side will take on France at the Allianz Riviera in Nice with kick-off at 21:00 CEST.
“I am confident and curious to see how the team perform against a side, who I believe, are one of the main candidates for the World Cup,” said the Head Coach in his pre-match press conference. “They are a very strong side and won all of their qualifying games.” Am I worried about a heavy defeat? “Let’s hope not. It will be a good test, but the most important thing will be to perform well out on the pitch.
As for the team who’ll turn out, Mancini said: “Our system of play could vary and it depends who plays tomorrow. We have plenty of young players and they need to gain experience quickly. These matches are essential to give those who need more international experience, allowing them to compete with those who have more experience – even if there is a risk that things don’t go too well. We’ve worked well recently but the road is still long.”
Italy have played twice before in the French city. The first match was in August 2008 when Marcello Lippi’s side came from behind to draw 2-2 with Austria. Last June, Italy beat Uruguay 3-0 thanks to an own goal from Gimenez along with Eder and De Rossi goals. France won their most recent friendly 2-0 against the Republic of Ireland on Monday and their debut at the World Cup will be on 16th June when they face Australia. The Azzurri are ahead in the head-to-head with 18 wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats. However, Italy have lost the two most recent meetings (1-2) in November 2012 in Parma and the Azzurri also lost in Gian Piero Ventura’s debut in September 2016 in Bari (1-3).