Italy vs. Bulgaria – team anylsis and match preview
First game in our World Cup Qualification analysis will be derby match of group B between Italy and Bulgaria, first and second in the group. With only 4 more games (including this) until the end of qualification this will be very important game for Bulgaria national team.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will not be able to count on his best strikers in these qualifications Mario Balotelli and Pablo Osvaldo, both of them out due to suspension. They both scored 3 goals in this qualification round. It is expected that Genoa striker Alberto Gilardino will be leading the charge at Bulgaria goal. Italian football federation confirms Massimiliano Allegri as new national coach after next year World Cup, so that will probably have some impact on morale of the squad. Without Balotelli, Prandelli will probably start with 4-3-2-1 tactic:
Bulgaria coach Lyuboslav Penev have whole squad ready and fit for this game. He is hoping that they will continue with the good resultat in these qualifications. Interesting thing for Bulgaria squad is that their top scorers are not attackers, defender Stanislav Manolev and midfielder Aleksandar Tones both score 3 goals in these qualifications. Penev will probably be using 4-2-3-1 tactic with Tonev and Gargorov acting as extra help for defensive midfielder Dyakov and Gadzhev. While Popov task is to give some good balls to lonely attacker Rangelov:
Italy and Bulgaria went head-to-head four times. In qualification for World Cup in South Africa (2010) they were in the same group. First game was played in Sofia it ended in a draw 0-0. Second game was played at Olimpico stadium in Turin, Grosso and Iaquinta were scorers for Italy win (2-0). At the end of qualifications Italy was first with 24pts while Bulgaria was third, behind Republic of Ireland, with only 14pts from 10 games. Before those qualifications, in Portugal 2004 at UEFA Europe Champions, Italy and Bulgaria were in group c with Denmark and Sweden. Italy won the game vs. Bulgaria 2-1 (Perrota 48′, Cassano 90’; Petrov 45′pen) but at the end Italy was third and Bulgaria was last in group c.
If we look the rest of games until the end of qualification. Italy is playing vs. Czech Republic, Denmark and Armenia and Bulgaria has little „easier“schedule Malta, Armenia and Czech Republic at the end. Italy has won both of their two home games (Malta 2-0; Denmark 3-1) in this qualification, while Bulgaria draw both of their away games (Czech Republic 0-0; Denmark 1-1)
If Bulgaria lose, that would mean that Italy will be probably first in this group and battle for second place will be decided in Sofia at last round when Bulgaria go head-to-head with Czech Republic.
You can watch it live from our Live score section: