Italy predicted lineup vs Ukraine – Euro 2024 qualifier

Luciano Spalletti’s planned sabbatical on his Tuscan vineyard ended prematurely when the Italian football federation came calling.

In need of a new manager after Roberto Mancini’s resignation and subsequent move to Saudi Arabia, the Azzurri called upon the services of the man who guided Napoli to their first Serie A title in more than 30 years last season.

Spalletti’s Napoli were nothing short of joyous, with the dynamics on display deviating only marginally from Mancini’s Italy during their pomp. However, his bow with the national team ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw with North Macedonia, rendering Tuesday’s Euro 2024 qualifier with Ukraine hugely significant in terms of actually getting to the final tournament without additional playoffs.

Here’s the team the new Italy boss could pick for the contest.

Luciano SpallettiLuciano Spalletti

Luciano Spalletti took charge of his first game as Italy boss on Saturday / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – Among few Euro 2020 heroes that remain in the squad, Donnarumma is Italy’s number one and he’s not going to be dropped for such an important fixture.

RB: Giovanni Di Lorenzo – Spalletti is well aware of Di Lorenzo’s brilliance as he was his captain at Napoli. He’s been performing like one of the world’s best right-backs for the past couple of years.

CB: Giorgio Scalvini – Gianluca Mancini was one of two casualties on Saturday and he’s since left the Italy camp. Thus, young Scalvini, who replaced Mancini against North Macedonia could make a rare start for the national team.

CB: Alessandro Bastoni – Bastoni has stood out in a back three for Inter since breaking through under Antonio Conte, but he’s shown that he’s more than adepth in a back four. With Scalvini coming in, Bastoni will command the heart of Italy’s defence.

LB: Leonardo Spinazzola – The Roma left-back has only recently shown signs of rediscovering his most potent attacking form after recovering from the ruptured Achilles he sustained at the previous Euros. Spalletti could opt for Cristiano Biraghi, but he’ll likely stick with Spinazzola down the left.

CM: Manuel Locatelli – The sole change to Italy’s midfield comes at the base, with Locatelli coming in for Bryan Cristante. While many believe Locatelli is better suited to a #8 role, he could excel as the metronome in Spalletti’s midfield three.

CM: Sandro Tonali – The Newcastle man will have to play a crucial balancing act in the Azzurri’s midfield.

CM: Nicolo Barella – Given the lack of firepower in the front three, Barella is a hugely important attacking outlet for the Azzurri. He’s scored eight times in 46 caps for the national team.

RW: Nicolo Zaniolo – After Matteo Politano was forced to withdraw from the squad, Spalletti’s options down the right are slim. With Federico Chiesa absent, Zaniolo, who hasn’t played his best football in years, will likely get a start down the right.

ST: Ciro Immobile – Notoriously profligate for the Azzurri, Immobile scored his 17th goal for Italy on Saturday on his 57th cap. It’s a record which pales in comparison to his imperious Lazio tally. Nevertheless, he’s a shoo-in to retain his place in the team.

LW: Mattia Zaccagni – Spalletti will want Spinazzola to get forward as much as possible to get the very best out of Zaccagni, who’s been excellent over the past 12 or so months. The crafty playmaker is at his best when drifting infield from a wide position.


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