Probable line-ups: Switzerland vs. Italy

by | Sep 4, 2021 20:23

Italy are expected to bring in Manuel Locatelli for Marco Verratti and Giorgio Chiellini in defence, but Switzerland are missing several key players for this World Cup qualifier and could have a surprise return in midfield.

It kicks off at St. Jakob-Park on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

This is a showdown for the top spot and only automatic qualifying place in the tournament, as Italy have 10 points from four games, while the Swiss won both their matches.

Verratti is in doubt after sustaining a knock to the knee, so Locatelli is the most likely candidate to step in, especially as he famously scored twice in Italy’s 3-0 win over Switzerland at UEFA EURO 2020.

It will be Locatelli’s first start of the season, as he has only made substitute appearances following his late transfer to Juventus.

Compared to the 1-1 draw with Bulgaria on Thursday evening, Chiellini should step in for Francesco Acerbi in central defence, reforming the classic partnership with Leonardo Bonucci.

Switzerland have a new coach, having brought in Murat Yakin for Vladimir Petkovic since the Euros came to a close.

Above all, they are missing several key players, as captain Granit Xhaka tested positive for COVID-19.

Also absent are Xherdan Shaqiri, Mario Gavranovic and Breel Embolo, along with suspended Atalanta midfielder Remo Freuler.

Fabian Frei was drafted in on Thursday following Xhaka’s COVID test and the 32-year-old FC Basel man could well start in his first appearance for Switzerland since March 2018.

He hasn’t started for his country since a 5-2 World Cup qualifier against Hungary in October 2017.

Eray Cömert pulled out of the squad after sustaining head trauma with concussion during the match against Greece.

Christian Fassnacht should take over from Shaqiri in the trio supporting centre-forward and ex-Fiorentina player Haris Seferovic.

Probable line-ups

Switzerland (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Frei, Sow; Zuber, Fassnacht, Steffen; Seferovic

Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne

Ref: Del Cerro Grande (ESP)



  1. rafi nizamee

    This might come off as an unpopular opinion but I think instead of fielding Verratti and Jorginho at the same time, Italy can try replacing one of them with a more attacking minded midfielder. Both of them are comfortable with the midfield anchor role, which ensures consistency but the team might be missing out on some pace & flair that others (Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Sensi) can offer. As Italy do not have a prolific goal-scoring forward currently, the midfield needs to compensate for it.

  2. Mario t

    I would like to see more of Pessina at some point. I like his fight and determination. He did score an important goal off the bench at the Euros. He’s only 24!

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