Italy managed a vital 2-0 win over Albania in their World Cup qualifiers on Friday evening to keep the pressure on Spain at the top of the Group G table and the Azzurri remain below the Spaniards on goal difference alone. With their World Cup qualifiers at an end until June, Italy now turn their attention to a friendly against The Netherlands on Tuesday evening.
The Dutch sacked coach Danny Blind at the weekend following yet another disastrous qualifying result, the national side going down 2-0 to Bulgaria. Indeed with the Netherlands failing to make it to last summer’s European Championship, they are now in serious danger of missing out on a trip to Russia for next year’s World Cup.
The Dutch have managed just two wins in their Group A campaign, these being against group minnows Belarus and Luxembourg. They were outclassed by the Bulgarians on Saturday evening and sit a lowly fourth in their qualifying group with just four games remaining.
Victory over the Italians in what is nevertheless a meaningless friendly would indeed be a boost to morale but to be honest we don’t fancy their chances much. Italy haven’t suffered a single defeat since the 2016 European Championships although whilst they should on paper win this match relatively easily, we suspect that there will be an element of experimentation in both teams.
As such we’ll be avoiding the outright winner market and instead going for goals in this match. All but one of the Azzurri’s last nine outings have returned at least two goals and The Netherlands are having few problems finding the net – the defeat to Bulgaria aside. The Dutch have scored in all but three of their last sixteen games and as such, we expect both nets to bulge in what looks set to be a goal-filled thriller.