Italy vs Wales – Context:
It is very simple between the two sides, whoever wins will top the group. However, Italy do go in the game with the advantage of having won both of their previous fixtures.
It is highly likely that Wales will go through having already secured 4 points, although should they lose significantly against Italy and Switzerland beat Turkey they could still find themselves in third position.
Knowing that they are already through, there is always the possibility that Italy could rest some players opening the door for Wales to be more competitive.
Italy vs Wales – Head-to-head:
Considering Wales recent rise up the FIFA rankings with the emergence of some top Premier League quality talent, it is unsurprising that the record between the two sides leans heavily in the Italians favour.
However Wales are not without some pride and have 2 of the 9 Games in which the two nations have clashed. Italy have won the other seven with the most recent victory coming in 2003, far before any of the current two crops of players were involved. A year before even Giorgio Chiellini was even given his call-up, he was playing for the under 21s at the time.
The Euro qualifiers bout saw Italy smash Wales 4-0 with a hattrick from Filippo Inzaghi and a 4th from Alessandro Del Piero.
This was very much a revenge scoreline from the 2-1 Welsh victory in September a year prior. Simon Davies gave Wales the lead in that game before Del Piero equalised. However, Craig Bellamy’s 70th minute winner gave Wales hope in the group.
Italy vs Wales – Key battles:
Ultimately it will depend hugely on who plays. However, Gareth Bale got much more luck playing against Turkey’s back four in comparison to the Switzerland’s back five.
He will face again another back four in Italy with either Leonardo Spinazzola or, if the Roma man is rested, Chelsea’s Emerson. This could mean a busy day for Giorgio Chiellini’s likely replacement Francesco Acerbi of Lazio.
Ramsey will look to make runs from midfield should he start again and not be rested. Running in between Acerbi and Bonucci will be trickier to manage with their seniority to Caglar Soyuncu and Merih Demiral of Turkey.
Whoever is in the Italy wide areas, be it Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa, Federico Bernardeschi or Domenico Berardi, will be a stern test for the Wales full-backs.
Wales could decide to move to a back 5 to cope with the added quality of Italy but could lose the midfield battle with Marco Verratti looking to earn some minutes and regain full fitness for the knockout rounds.
Italy vs Wales – The subplots:
Ramsey spoke in his post-match press conference after the win over Turkey that he was very much looking forward to facing some of his Juve teammates in Rome.
He joked further that he is eyeing the penalty duties after Gareth Bale missed his penalties.
Watch out Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey is eyeing up penalty duty 👀 pic.twitter.com/tK58hTxvFP
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) June 17, 2021
Chiesa described Ramsey as an ‘above average player’ and whilst it may be something lost in translation, especially considering they are Juve teammates, the Welshman will want to show he is far more than that.
Italy vs Wales – Predicted line-ups:
Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Spinazzola, Jorginho, Verratti, Barella, Berardeschi, Chiesa, Immobile
Wales: Ward, Roberts, Meopham, Rodon, Davies, Morrell, Allen, Ramsey, Bale, James, Moore
Italy vs Wales: Win probabilities
Check out the win probabilities below.
At the time of writing, Italy are enormous 61% favourites to win.
Wales only have a 13% winning probability, while the draw is valued at 26%.