September 23, 2021

LIVE: Italy vs Lithuania

Read Time:2 Minute, 19 Second

The teams are headed out now – with the presence of Englishman Craig Pawson as referee – and we’ll have the national anthems before we begin.

Will there be goals in store today? Just the one finish for Italy over the international break highlights their frugal nature since the back end of Euro 2020 – but with Donnarumma in goal, very little will get through either. It will be an intriguing battle to see if the PSG man is tested much though.

Goals for Stefano Sensi and Ciro Immobile did the job last time out when these two sides met in the reverse fixture earlier this year – but the visitors did famously earn a draw against the then-World Champions in only the Azzurri’s second game after winning the Germany 2006 World Cup. Could history repeat itself?

Subs: Artemijus Tutyskinas, Vytas Gaspuitis, Linas Megelaitis, Titas Krapikas, Edvinas Gertmonas, Benas Satkus, Karolis Uzela, Dominykas Barauskas, Rolandas Baravykas.

LITHUANIA (4-2-3-1): Ernestas Setkus; Justas Lasickas, Linas Klimavicius, Edgaras Utkus, Vaidas Slavickas; Martynas Dapkus, Vykintas Slivka; Donatas Kazlauskas, Ovidijus Verbickas, Arvydas Novikovas, Edgaras Dubickas.

Subs: Gaetano Castrovilli, Gianluca Scamacca, Manuel Locatelli, Nicolo Barella, Alessandro Florenzi, Salvatore Sirigu, Pierluigi Gollini, Domenico Berardi, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Davide Calabria, Rafael Toloi.

ITALY (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Cristiano Biraghi; Matteo Pessina, Jorginho, Bryan Cristante; Federico Bernardeschi, Giacomo Raspadori, Moise Kean.

For Lithuania, there are few names among their ranks likely to draw immediate recognition – but at least striker Edgaras Dubickas won’t have a long flight home afterwards. He plays for Piacenza in Serie C, just an hour or so up the road from tonight’s host city.

With the quality of their opponent likely to not trouble even a second-string side too much, Italy have fielded just that today. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Jorginho are the only three survivors of the Euro 2020 Final penalty shootout win over England to make the cut.

In their way stands a side yet to avoid defeat in 2021. Lithuania’s record against non-minnows is not pretty reading – a win over Poland a decade ago is their last major scalp – but the Rinktine, coached by Valdas Ivanauskas, will be far from deterred with their night under the bright lights.

Tonight, history beckons for Roberto Mancini and the Azzurri. Last time out, the newly-minted European champions drew with Switzerland – and matched the all-time unbeaten run record in men’s senior football of 36 games. Today, on home turf, they’ll be fancied to take it outright.

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the September international break as Euro 2020 holders Italy look to continue their path towards the Qatar 2022 World Cup in a UEFA qualifier against Lithuania at Mapei Stadium, Reggio Emilia.

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