Several decisions have already been made before the last matchday of qualifying. On Monday night, there are accordingly a few international matches under competitive conditions, which can basically be considered almost as a kind of friendly match. Everything is clear since Friday evening in the group J.
Italy has been stuck for a long time as a fixed EM starter, the second ticket in this group could secure itself Finland with the former Schalke Teemu Pukki. A look at this group is worthwhile on Friday, however, because Italy could complete the qualification with a bright white vest. Italy will need a victory against the Eastern Europeans against Armenia in Palermo!
There are hardly any doubts about this, as the Italian national team have found their way back under Roberto Mancini and were convinced not only because of their nine wins in this qualification.
Although Armenia can certainly be satisfied with the current qualification (after all, there are ten points on the credit side), the team still has no chance of being represented for the first time in a major football event in 2020. The game starts on Monday at 19:45.
For the first time since 1992 (European Championships in Sweden) missed the Italian national football team with the World Cup last year, a major event. The last European Championship without Italian participation even existed in 1958 (also in Sweden). Although the downward trend has already been indicated by the preliminary rounds of 2016 and 2014, non-qualifying was a major shock for Italy.
After the end, head coach Gian Piero Ventura had to vacate his chair and after Luigi di Biagio coached the Squadra Azzurra for two games, Roberto Mancini presented the desired solution. A decision that has paid off.
Mancini has driven the long overdue upheaval and still be able to deliver good results. Meanwhile, he is responsible for 18 international matches for Italy and looks back on a strong 12-4-2 balance sheet (goal difference 36:11).
The two defeats resulted from a friendly match against France (1: 3) and from the Nations League game in Portugal (0: 1). Since the defeat against the reigning European champion Italy celebrated ten wins in twelve games. The Mancini-Elf does not lack confidence in these days by any means.
The offensive game with the three-way attack is complacent and extremely dangerous, but the defensive is still extremely compact. Only three goals conceded in the current qualification are the best proof of this statement.
Although the match was already a kind of friendly match against Bosnia on Friday in Zenica, the team presented themselves highly concentrated and won a sovereign 3-0 victory over – on paper – the strongest group opponent. The prospect of playing the perfect qualification spurs on Italy and with this attitude, there can only be a prognosis towards the home side between Italy and Armenia!
It does not matter who Mancini will call in the starting lineup – against Bosnia sat actors such as Ciro Immobile, Nicolo Zaniolo or Federico Chiesa namely, for example, 90 minutes on the bench.
Armenia scored two points in qualifying for the European Championship in 2016, with seven points on the credit side in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Accordingly, the Eastern Europeans failed clearly in both cases.
Even in the current qualification, the chance of the first participation was never really great – and still there is progress. Armenia scored ten points in their nine previous games and was able to convince others in Greece (3: 2) and at home against Bosnia (4: 2).
However, the October doubles were completely disappointed with a draw against bottom of Liechtenstein and a clear away defeat in Finland. For head coach Armen Gyulbudaghyants, the disappointment was so great that almost exactly one year later he left the post as head coach of his homeland. After a short search Abraham Khashmanyan – former coach of the Armenian top club Alashkert – was presented as successor.
In his first international match doubles, the new coach is by no means to be envied. With the ex-Dortmunder Henrik Mkhitaryan missing the big star of the team due to an adductor injury. Bayern-Schreck Sargis Adamyan (double for the TSG Hoffenheim against Bayern) is suffering from a thigh injury and his home is therefore also not available.
Without the two top players, Armenia has very little quality and almost exclusively second- or third-class players available. In view of the available squad material, the tip on the home side’s handicap win can be recommended between Italy and Armenia.