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Italy hosts Ukraine with boss Roberto Mancini looking to kick-start his reign

Roberto Mancini Italy vs Ukraine Betting Odds Preview international friendly

Italy plays an international friendly against Ukraine on Wednesday night in Genoa looking to overcome what has been a difficult period in its proud history. The 2006 World Cup winners failed to qualify for the FIFA tournament this past summer, and the start under new coach Roberto Mancini has hardly been the most inspiring – a resounding win here would be just the ticket to get back on the right page.

SHARK BITES
  • Italy has won just one of its first five matches under new coach Roberto Mancini.
  • Ukraine has now gone four matches without a defeat.
  • Italy is unbeaten against Ukraine in seven previous meetings.

Italy must rebuild under Mancini

This is arguably the bleakest period in the recent history of Italian football. Results have not been positive since that failure to make Russia in the summer, and Mancini will need his wits about him if he is to save what is increasingly looking like a sinking ship.

However, he has had a tough start to life in the hot seat. The former Inter Milan boss won his first game in charge, against a relatively weak Saudi Arabian outfit, but has failed to win any of his last four matches in charge.

Last month, they kicked off their UEFA Nations League campaign against Poland and Portugal, picking up just a point in the process. Now they have the perfect chance in a friendly encounter to get their focus back on course.

And it is home side Italy that comes into this clash as the clear favorite to walk away with the win. You can back Mancini’s men to pick up a much-needed victory at just -138, with Ukraine, despite an encouraging recent run of form, out at +450. A draw is priced in the middle at +230.

Ukraine could be facing uphill struggle

Ukraine may have gone four games unbeaten but also failed to make it to the World Cup in Russia. Their last competition was the 2016 European Championships in France, but the side lost all three of its games in Group C, finishing rock bottom.

In addition to recording no points, they also scored no goals and were beaten 2-0 by both Germany and Northern Ireland. We are expecting a similar outcome in Genoa this week.

While it is never easy trying to predict the exact scoreline of any game, a comfortable 2-0 win for Italy on this occasion is priced competitively at +600. In addition, you can back UNDER 2.5 goals in the game at -150, while a “No” to both teams scoring is also priced low at -138.

However, it should be pointed out that, unlike Italy, Ukraine has made a positive start to the newly formed UEFA Nations League. Now managed by former idol Andriy Shevchenko, the country recorded wins against the Czech Republic (2-1) and Slovakia (1-0).

Italians to get back on track

But there is no denying the technical quality available to Mancini in this Italy squad. We are expecting Italy to keep it tight at the back and win this match to nil (without Ukraine scoring a goal), an outcome you can back at a price of +162.

One player to keep an eye on will be forward Sebastian Giovinco. The Toronto FC striker received his first national team call-up in three years and will be desperate to impress, with Nice forward Mario Balotelli making way for the 31-year-old.

Giovinco is at +175 to get on the scoresheet at any time, while you can back him at +500 to score either the first or the last goal of the game. But the overall favorite to find the back of the net is Lazio striker Ciro Immobile – he is at just +120 to score in this match.

Do not forget, either, that the more specific your bets, the higher the potential rewards. Therefore, we like the look of an Italy win and UNDER 2.5 goals in the match, which comes in at +260.

This is unlikely to go down as a classic, but Mancini should kick-start his very own Italian job.

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