MX23RW : Wednesday, November 14 03:14:39

Preview: Italy vs. Romania

Sports Mole previews the friendly clash between Italy and Romania in Bologna.

Italy will be aiming to bounce back from their defeat to Belgium when they face Romania in their friendly clash in Bologna on Tuesday.

Both teams sealed their places at Euro 2016 and will be hoping to round into form ahead of the competition in France next year.


Italy

Italy's coach Antonio Conte follows the action during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group H qualifying football match Norway vs Italy on September 9, 2014© Getty Images

Despite taking an early lead through Antonio Candreva in the third minute, the Azzurri fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Belgium in their friendly clash on Friday.

The game was a tight affair after Jan Vertonghen cancelled out Candreva's goal, but late strikes from Kevin De Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi handed Marc Wilmots's men the victory.

Italy went unbeaten in their qualifying campaign to reach Euro 2016, claiming seven wins and three draws in their 10 matches in Group H.

Antonio Conte's men were as stout as ever in their 10 matches as they conceded just seven goals, keeping four clean sheets. However, they have failed to shut out the opposition in their last three matches.

The Azzurri did have difficulty finding the net throughout their campaign as they scored 16 times in 10 matches, and they even had problems breaking down minor nations Azerbaijan and Malta in narrow victories.

Graziano Pelle has a decent record since he began his international career, netting four goals in nine appearances. However, with the competition looming Conte will be desperate for other players to step forward and strengthen his options up front.

Recent form: LWWWWL


Romania

Claudiu Keseru (L) of Romania celebrates after he scored 1-0 against Faroe Islands during the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying football match during the Group F Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Romania and Faroe Islands, on March 29, 2015© Getty Images

Romania finished second behind Northern Ireland in Group F to secure their place at Euro 2016.

Anghel Iordanescu's men went through their qualifying campaign with an unbeaten record, posting five victories and five draws in their 10 matches.

Northern Ireland's performances over the course of the campaign made them sweat it out until their final match to earn their berth at the competition as they defeated the Faroe Islands 3-0 in the last round of games.

Romania built their campaign around their solid backline, which saw them concede just two goals in their 10 matches and included eight clean sheets.

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Vlad Chiriches played an integral part in their success and will be a key player for his side ahead of the competition next year if they are to continue their success.

However, scoring goals was a major issue for Iordanescu's men as they only found the net 11 times.

Constantin Budescu and Bogdan Stancu were their team's leading marksmen with two strikes each in qualifying and their manager will hope that they can improve in the final third ahead of the tournament.

Recent form: WDDDDW


Team News

Italy's Mattia De Sciglio (L) vies for the ball with Belgium's midfielder Yannick Carrasco (R) during the friendly football match between Belgium and Italy, at the King Baudouin Stadium, on November 13, 2015 in Brussels.© Getty Images

Mattia De Sciglio suffered a muscle injury during training and will likely miss the match after starting at left-back against Belgium, with Luca Antonelli on hand to replace him in the back four.

Andrea Pirlo and Marco Verratti were left out of the squad as Claudio Marchisio and Marco Parolo started in the midfield in their stead last week, but Roberto Soriano could come into contention.

Stephan El Shaarawy could also slide into the starting lineup to replace Alessandro Florenzi.

Romania are without defender Paul Papp and midfielders Alexandru Chipciu and Cristian Tanase for the contest.

Iordanescu could hand debuts to Ioan Hora, Vlad Achim and Steliano Filip after they received their first call-ups to the squad.

Italy possible starting lineup:
Buffon; Darmian, Bonucci, Chiellini, Antonelli; El Shaarawy, Soriano, Marchisio, Candreva; Eder, Pelle

Romania possible starting lineup:
Tatarusanu; Matel, Chiriches, Grigore, Rat; Pintilli, Hoban; Popa, Budescu, Torje; Stancu


Head To Head

The two sides last met in a friendly match in 2010 where they played out a 1-1 draw as a late goal from Fabio Quagliarella cancelled out Ciprian Marica's first-half strike.

The scoreline was the same in their clash at Euro 2008 after Adrian Mutu and Christian Panucci found the net within minutes of each other, but the Azzurri were grateful to a late penalty save from Gianluigi Buffon to deny Mutu a match-winning strike.

Over the course of history, Italy have dominated the fixture winning 10 of the 16 contests, while Romania have recorded just two victories. Four of the matches have ended in stalemates.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Italy 0-0 Romania

Both sides struggle to score goals, but are proven to be extremely solid at the back. So, expect this match to a goalless draw as neither team looks to have the firepower to blow the other away.


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Who will win the friendly match between Italy and Romania?

Italy
Draw
Romania
Italy
70.3%
Draw
15.8%
Romania
13.9%
Ajaccio's Rumanian forward Adrian Mutu stares at the ball during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Ajaccio (ACA) at the Parc des Princes stadium on August 18, 2013
Read Next:
Adrian Mutu targets Euro 2016 place
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