Friday September 7 2018
Line-ups: Italy-Poland

Italy look to Mario Balotelli, Federico Bernardeschi, Lorenzo Insigne and Jorginho in their opening Nations League match with Piotr Zielinski’s Poland.

It kicks off at the Stadio Dall’Ara in Bologna at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

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The Azzurri begin a new era with CT Roberto Mancini’s first competitive match and he does so in the stadium where he made his Serie A debut as a player in September 1981.

They will visit Portugal in Lisbon on Monday evening for the second game in this UEFA Nations League group.

Monaco striker Pietro Pellegri pulled out of the squad through injury, but Domenico Criscito is not 100 per cent fit and makes way for Fiorentina debutant Cristiano Biraghi.

Balotelli, Davide Zappacosta, Roberto Gagliardini and Lorenzo Pellegrini have barely featured this season at club level, yet are all in the starting XI.

Chelsea star Jorginho runs the midfield in a 4-3-3 formation, with Balotelli flanked by Bernardeschi rather than Federico Chiesa and Napoli’s Insigne.

Poland’s squad has eight players currently plying their trade in Serie A, including Napoli pair Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zielinski, Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Sampdoria full-back Bartosz Bereszynski.

Szczesny is rested in favour of Lukasz Fabianski, while former Fiorentina winger Jakub Blaszczykowski helps support Zielinski in a more advanced role behind Robert Lewandowski.

Atalanta full-back Arkadiusz Reca gets his senior Poland debut, having made one appearance for the Orobici this season in the Europa League preliminary round.

Italy: G Donnarumma; Zappacosta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Biraghi; Pellegrini, Jorginho, Gagliardini; Bernardeschi, Balotelli, Insigne

Italy bench: Sirigu, Perin, Barella, Criscito, Romagnoli, Berardi, Bonaventura, Belotti, Caldara, Chiesa, Immobile, Benassi

Poland: Fabianski; Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek, Reca; Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Klich, Kurzawa; Zielinski; Lewandowski

Poland bench: Szczesny, Skorupski, Pietrzak, Kedziora, Dzwigala, Milik, Linetty, Szymanski, Frankowski, Kadzior, Kaminski, K Piatek

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