NEWS
Friday March 22 2019
Probable line-ups: Italy v Finland

Italy are expected to start Moise Kean, Ciro Immobile and Federico Bernardeschi in attack for their Euro 2020 qualifier with Finland.

It kicks off in Udine on Saturday at 19.45 GMT.

They are in Group J with Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Armenia.

Roberto Mancini has been forced to do without injured Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa and Alessandro Florenzi for this opener and Tuesday’s group game against Liechtenstein.

Although Matteo Politano of Inter and Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy are options, it’s widely reported 19-year-old Juventus striker Kean will get his first senior Italy start.

He has one previous cap for his country, earned as a substitute in November’s friendly against the USA.

The only other position in doubt was right-back, as in Florenzi’s absence, Cristiano Piccini of Valencia appears to be getting the nod.

This will also be his first Italy start, after two brief substitute appearances against Ukraine and Poland in October 2018.

Finland defender Jere Uronen is out with an ankle injury, so Juha Pirinen of Tromso should start at left-back.

The main threat is Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki, who scored 15 goals in 69 senior caps for Finland, but above all netted all of their first three Nations League goals.

The only Nations League game he didn’t score in was a 2-0 victory over Greece and that’s because he limped off within 12 minutes. Pyry Soiri and Glen Kamara were on target that day.

Pukki has scored five times in his last seven senior caps, but none in the most recent three.

His usual partner Jasse Tuominen is out of action, so 20-year-old Lassi Lappalainen is expected to step in.

There is a choice between Rasmus Schuller and Glen Kamara for the midfield berth with captain Tim Sparv.

Italy: G Donnarumma; Piccini, Bonucci, Chiellini, Biraghi; Verratti, Jorginho, Barella; Bernardeschi, Immobile, Kean

Finland: Hradecky; Granlund, Toivio, Arajuuri, Pirinen; Lod, Schuller, Sparv, Soiri; Pukki, Lappalainen

Ref: Grinfeld (ISR)

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