Saturday November 17 2018
Azzurri have a goal problem

Roberto Mancini’s Italy have a serious problem finding the net, scoring only 11 goals in their last 16 games, but the defence is improving.

The Azzurri were held to a 0-0 draw by Portugal at San Siro in the Nations League this evening, meaning the Euro 2016 winners go through to the Final Four.

Once again, they didn’t convert any of their scoring opportunities and it is becoming an issue.

Italy have hit the back of the net only 11 times in their last 16 matches.

The one game where they managed to score more than one goal was Mancini’s debut, a 2-1 friendly victory over Saudi Arabia in May 2018.

It is perhaps a concern that of the players in the squad called up to face Portugal, the top scorer at international level was defender Giorgio Chiellini on eight goals in 100 caps.

Ciro Immobile follows with seven goals in 34 caps. Leonardo Bonucci has six goals for Italy, Lorenzo Insigne four, Alessandro Florenzi two, Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Cristiano Biraghi one.

There is at least some good news, because this was their second consecutive clean sheet after the 1-0 Nations League win in Poland.

That is an important development, as before the Polish trip, Italy had conceded in eight games on the bounce, their worst streak since 1958-59.

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