Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Prediction: Italy vs Bosnia and Herzegovina

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 7 Jun 2024

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Verdict: Home win to nil

Best odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Betfair

Italy will wrap up their Euro 2024 preparations with a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Stadio Carlo Castellani on Sunday.

The Azzurri aim to extend their unbeaten streak to six matches, while the Dragons are seeking to snap a five-game losing run that stretches back to October last year.

Italy

Since taking the helm from Euro 2020-winning manager Roberto Mancini in September last year, Luciano Spalletti has made an encouraging start as Italy’s head coach, securing five wins and three draws in his first nine matches across all competitions.

Currently ranked ninth in the FIFA world rankings, Italy remain undefeated in 2024. The year began on a high note with back-to-back friendly victories over Venezuela and Ecuador in March, though a goalless draw against Turkey at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on Tuesday ended their winning streak.

Positive signs were evident in the Azzurri’s internal warm-up match against their Under-20 team the following day, where Gianluca Scamacca, Giacomo Raspadori, and Stephan El Shaarawy all found the net in a 3-1 victory.

Spalletti has expressed satisfaction with Italy’s preparations as they gear up to defend their European title, praising his “great group” of players ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Azzurri have won three of their previous four encounters with the Dragons and aim to regain their winning form before heading to Germany for their Euro 2024 opener against Albania on June 15, followed by challenging fixtures against Spain and Croatia.

Team News

Spalletti has officially announced his final 26-man squad for Euro 2024, with Ivan Provedel, Samuele Ricci, and Riccardo Orsolini being the notable absentees. As a result, these three players will not feature in Sunday’s friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Both Alex Meret and Nicolo Barella are emerging as injury doubts and are unlikely to be risked in the upcoming match.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy’s captain, is expected to return to the starting lineup, taking over between the posts from Guglielmo Vicario, who earned just his second cap in the midweek friendly. The omission of Orsolini opens up the competition for an attacking spot, with Raspadori, El Shaarawy, and Mattia Zaccagni likely contending for a place in the starting XI.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In contrast to Italy, Bosnia will not participate in the tournament this summer after failing to secure a spot at Euro 2024. They finished fifth out of six teams in Group J.

The Dragons secured victories in only three of their ten qualification matches, including two against the lower-ranked Liechtenstein, and concluded the group stage 13 points behind the top two teams. Nonetheless, they had a chance to qualify through their performance in the UEFA Nations League.

Bosnia entered the Euro 2024 play-offs earlier this year but suffered a 2-1 defeat in the semifinal against Ukraine. This loss led to the resignation of head coach Savo Milosevic, who had overseen only five games over a six-month tenure, with four losses.

Sergej Barbarez has since assumed the role of head coach and was on the sidelines during Bosnia’s 3-0 friendly loss to England at Wembley Stadium on Monday. Despite failing to register a shot on target and having just 29% possession, the 52-year-old expressed “pride” in his team’s performance.

Currently ranked 74th in the world by FIFA, Bosnia aim to secure their first-ever win against Italy and their first friendly victory away from home since defeating South Korea 3-1 in June 2018.

Team News

Nikola Vasilj, Stjepan Radeljic, and Edin Dzeko – the latter being Bosnia’s record goal scorer with 65 goals and most capped player with 134 appearances – are sidelined due to injuries.

Vasilj, who featured in the match against England, sustained an injury in training. Consequently, either Kenan Piric or the uncapped Osman Hadzikic is anticipated to start in goal.

Last season, Ermedin Demirovic contributed to 25 goals (scoring 15 and assisting 10) in 33 Bundesliga appearances for Augsburg, but has managed only one goal in 25 international appearances for his country. He is, however, expected to continue leading the attack.

Conclusion

Italy have struggled to score more than one goal in five out of their last six international matches. However, they see an opportunity for success in the attacking third against Bosnia, whose defence has allowed 16 goals in their previous five matches, conceding at least two goals in each game.

Eager to arrive at Euro 2024 on the back of a strong performance, the Italian team anticipates little difficulty in securing a comfortable victory in front of their home fans.

Verdict: Home win to nil

Best odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Betfair

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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