Following their recent defeat in Madrid, the Azzurri are now preparing to take on Israel this evening (20:45 CEST) in what will be their third to last qualifier for Russia 2018. Despite the disappointment surrounding Saturday’s loss to Spain, Italy will now need to immediately regain their footing and bounce back well on Tuesday. A win is essential should they aim to retain any hope of securing first place in Group G, while it is even more important to at least obtain second place and advance to the play-offs.
Levy’s visiting squad are fresh from losing to Macedonia and currently occupy fourth place in Group G with nine points. There have previously been four matches between Italy and Israel, with the Azzurri racking up a total of three wins and one draw. The most recent fixture was played in Tel Aviv exactly a year ago, with the away side picking up a 3-1 win.
This evening’s game will be held in Reggio Emilia, which last welcomed the National Team for the first and only time 12 years ago. The match back then was a Euro 1996 qualifier between Italy vs. Lithuania at the Stadio del Giglio, with the Azzurri running out as eventual 4-0 winners thanks a hat-trick from Zola and a goal from Del Piero (the first of 27 with the National Team).