Switzerland catch Italy, but Azzurri have better goal difference

by | Oct 12, 2021 21:53

Switzerland picked up a 4-0 victory away to Lithuania, which means they are now joint top of the World Cup qualifying group, but Italy still have a better goal difference.

Breel Embolo scored twice, with Renato Steffen and Mario Gavranovic also on target in Vilnius this evening.

That allowed Switzerland to catch up to Italy, so both teams now have 14 points with six games played.

Only the group winners go through directly to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as the runners-up must enter the play-offs.

Italy and Switzerland go head-to-head at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on November 12.

The Azzurri still have the upper hand due to a superior goal difference, although this 4-0 result did eat into it somewhat.

Italy have a goal difference of +11, while the Swiss are now on +9.

After that showdown, Italy visit Northern Ireland on November 15 and Switzerland host Bulgaria that same evening in the final qualifiers.

22 Comments

  1. dangerboy

    Was afraid of this. Was not comfortable at all.

    4 dropped Points (nice PK Jorginho!) last month has made this more difficult than it needed to be.

    Now if we lose the excuses of tge Rugby team playing on there will be ready.

  2. WHO ME

    HAVE. HAVE. HAVE. TO. BEAT. SWITZERLAND …
    NEED AT LEAST 6-7 POINTS FROM FINAL 3 GAMES

  3. Tom

    Only 2 games left they can technically tie Swiss but a win would pretty much seal the deal . But I can see n Ireland give us a hard time .

  4. dangerboy

    Drawing the Swiss won’t be the end of the world but making calculationss on the final matchday is living dangerously.

  5. Jarod KNowles

    We need to be clinical, that’s the issue with Italy since after that Del Piero era, even there they missed but they also scored when it mattered.

  6. Baggio4ever

    There’s a chance that Spain may not make it either…i would hate to face them in a play-off game for WC

  7. SteFano

    We dominated the Swiss away but could not put the ball in the net. I expect us to dominate again and I think there is more than enough evidence to start playing Locatelli instead of Marco. We are far stronger in the midfield when he plays

  8. dangerboy

    Baggio4ever,

    Unless they changed it again, I’m prettty sure the Draw for the Playoff is not random.

    From 1998 (at least that I remember) they put the top 4 ranked teams in one pot and the bottom 4 ranked teams in the other pot.

    So Italy will probably fish out a team like Croatia (bogey team for us. want seriously avoid), or Serbia (assuming Portugal avoid defeat in their head-to-head). Maybe Scotland.

    I’m open to correction.

    Jarod Knowles,

    I’m really hoping Gianluca Scamacca can develop for us. I have little faith in Raspadori being elite.

  9. dangerboy

    Denmark qualified today.

    Absolutely ruthless the way they mowed through teams.

  10. Bukruqul

    Calma! We’re talking about having to beat Switzerland, not Pelè’s Brazil. Head down, focused, and we’ll get through.

  11. Vittorio

    Nothing can be taken for granted.

  12. FERBAN

    Huge game coming up v Switzerland. They’re rarely an easy opponent, but if Italy’s attitude is right, they should beat them.

  13. Bob

    Mancini is starting to really bug me with his hard headedness… Keeps selecting the same questionable players – time to give Insigne a rest… DiLo, Bernaldeschi? Ciro probably would have started too the past two games had he been fit… Calabria, Zaniolo and even Kean need to be weaved into this lineup, and he has to find room for Pellegrini, arguably the best Serie A Italian right now

  14. Tony

    @dangerboy
    You are correct. The playoffs will be seeded. So even if Spain are in the playoffs, Italy will avoid them.

    I’m confident Italy can beat Switzerland in Rome. We should have beaten them in Switzerland, but it was just one of those games!
    Whilst I do not believe that we will be in the playoffs, I think Italy can navigate their way through to qualifying for the World Cup if it came to it.

  15. Bruno

    It would be very typical of Italy to follow glory with failure. Things are seldom straightforward with us. We should never have been in this position. Mancini sticking by the extremely wasteful (for Italy) Immobile and Insigne in attack has placed us in jeopardy. It’s also a major concern how Mancini cannot see just how much better – more of an attacking threat – we are when Locatelli is in the team.

    We played well in Switzerland, but don’t forget that they were missing many key players for that game, and even then we still couldn’t put them away.

    While I think we’ll make it, it wouldn’t surprise me if Switzerland get something out of the game and then we mess up, away, against a very awkward/defensive Northern Ireland.

  16. Romano

    Mancini has to try a new formation against Switzerland and try also other players, don’t stagnate and get stuck in his comfort zone, of course he knows 1000% better than us, he won the Euro with the Azzurri, we are just spectators.

    But we can see a few things in the last four games.

    1. Di Lorenzo is not effective at all and is a hole on the right, Mancini should start playing Calabria.

    2. Verratti has been less aggressive lately and is easily predictable by opponents, remember against Spain at UNL, the debutant Gavi was able to handle it. Locatelli should be considered a starter or a more aggressive one like Pelegrini.

    3. Striker position are still the problem for Italy, Italy has not yet found an lethal CF, considering Kean is not have stable peformance yet, Ciro is still reliable, but Mancini must have an alternative.

    4. Italy is rich in choice of players in the midfield and forward line in addition to pure strikers, he must choice the best one, this match against Switzerland and N.Ireland is like Semi and Final, they must win, there is no way for draw or being lose.

    5. Italy should not be nervous and anxious when facing Switzerland later, if they can play a game like when they faced Switzerland at Euro 2020, then Italy’s chances of winning are very open.

  17. Romano

    Mancini has to try a new formation against Switzerland and try also other players, don’t stagnate and get stuck in his comfort zone, of course he knows 1000% better than us, he won the Euro with the Azzurri, we are just spectators.

    But we can see a few things in the last four games.

    1. Di Lorenzo is not effective at all and is a hole on the right, Mancini should start playing Calabria.

    2. Verratti has been less aggressive lately and is easily predictable by opponents, remember against Spain at UNL, the debutant Gavi was able to handle it. Locatelli should be considered a starter or a more aggressive one like Pelegrini.

    3. Striker position are still the problem for Italy, Italy has not yet found an lethal CF, considering Kean is not have stable performance yet, Ciro is still reliable, but Mancini must have an alternative.

    4. Italy is rich in choice of players in the midfield and forward line in addition to pure strikers, he must choice the best one, this match against Switzerland and N.Ireland is like Semi and Final, they must win, there is no way for draw or being lose.

    5. Italy should not be nervous and anxious when facing Switzerland later, if they can play a game like when they faced Switzerland at Euro 2020, then Italy’s chances of winning are very open.

  18. Romano

    CT Mancini has to try a new formation against Switzerland and try also other players, don’t stagnate and get stuck in his comfort zone, of course he knows 1000% better than us, he won the Euro with the Azzurri, we are just spectators.

    But we can see a few things in the last four games.

    1. Di Lorenzo is not effective at all and is a hole on the right, Mancini should start playing Calabria.

    2. Verratti has been less aggressive lately and is easily predictable by opponents, remember against Spain at UNL, the debutant Gavi was able to handle it. Locatelli should be considered a starter or a more aggressive one like Pelegrini.

    3. Striker position are still the problem for Italy, Italy has not yet found an lethal CF, considering Kean is not have stable performance yet, Ciro is still reliable, but Mancini must have an alternative.

    4. Italy is rich in choice of players in the midfield and forward line in addition to pure strikers, he must choice the best one, this match against Switzerland and N.Ireland is like Semi and Final, they must win, there is no way for draw or being lose.

    5. Italy should not be nervous and anxious when facing Switzerland later, if they can play a game like when they faced Switzerland at Euro 2020, then Italy’s chances of winning are very open.

  19. SONNY

    So as far as tiebreakers If Italy and Switzerland finish level on points and goal difference (and goals scored), it goes down to head to head. If it’s a scoring draw in Rome, Switzerland win the head to head. If it’s a goalless draw in Rome, first and second could be decided on disciplinary record.
    I went and counted all the yellow cards for each team – we have 8 and Switzerland have 7. If we are tied on that as well I don’t what next tiebreaker is- drawing of lots?

  20. dangerboy

    Changes needed,? Abslutely. But the minor tweeks for now. Cannot go all out experimenting with these 2 crucial matches.

    – Florenzi is all but done with the Azzurri.

    For me, it’s Calabria to start and Di Lo as his deputy.

    Let’s be honest, Florenzi and Acerbi were the cause of that Bulgaria goal. Never should have been scored. This was a disaster Result at the time and proving to be a disaster now.

    – Locatelli for Verratti to start. Loca is just better right now. Has an eye for goal that Verratti just doesn’t have. Don’t even remember the last time Verratti took a shot from distance. Loca shoots, shoots hard, and shoots with accuracy.

    – Pellegrini over Jorgi is just a matter of time. Or any variant of whatever formation is being used.

    Before I’m accused of being negative, this is NOT the match to bring in Zaniolo.

    Truth be told I wonder if he will still be in football by age 28 — too injury prone.

    The talent was there but he might have lost some development with his layoffs (as another comment stated).

    For the Swiss match, I trust Ciruzzo in his home stadium.

    Hate to beat a dead horse but when you (Berardi) have a 1v1 from almost halfway line (thanks to a pass from Loca), you should have all the time in the world to decide what to.

    One thing you cannot do, which Berardi did, was walk it right into the arms of Sommer.

    Berna’s inclusion is NOT why we lost 4 Points last month. He has characteristics that a lot of our guys don’t have.

    Good part is that if Italy and the Swiss cancel each other out and it is a Draw, Bulgaria (the Swiss’ next opponent), SHOULD be more difficult than NI. Although the Swiss play their last match at home while we go to Belfast.

    Good part about it is that we control our own destiny. No need to scoreboard watch.

  21. Jarod KNowles

    Romano, we’re not really just spectators, some of the comments in here like dangerboy analysis are advanced advice and the national team reads the articles. This adds pressure on them to make some tweaks improve the team.

    We need to be more clinical, it’s as if the training should be done at full gallop and you shoot for the net as you gallop, the players have to be snappish like a chiesa, locatelli, pellegrini (he’s had injuries in the past but when he’s on he’s dynamo) and the thing about Kean I am concerned about is I sense that he has a layer of fat that he needs to shed but has trouble doing this whereas locatelli also has some baby fat a tinge yet he is lethal, I think Locatelli has a great mental fortitude, I hear good things about Scamacca, Caputo lets go put them in there. Like I said before we need depth in the chiesa style (pls no midfield an canon balls), if we have 3 chiesa that’s it we’re unstoppable. Also Zaniolo the 1st doctor warns us all that the 1st knee injury will relapse so be careful there.

    Once again a snappish midfield (only slower type you leave in is Jorhingo as he tends to be best at defensive midfield dictating the game but in front of him they have to be snappish with a sense of urgency like the way we payed spain the last 20-30 mins, as they tried to get a 3rd, even 4th goal to no avail as we would snap the ball off their feet.

    In closing I can’t help myself but it would be great to see Mancini’s reaction if we play spain again and that coach asks him if they can water the pitch (Prandelli was asked this at 2012 and he said are you crazy get out of here-they actually play with a wet pitch at least that era team did)

  22. Eddie

    Guys
    At the end of the day it’s simple
    Italy we know are the better team and we are playing at home
    You create your own destiny a win at home and a draw away will secure World Cup qualification and Italy even away could easily beat Ireland
    We are currently one of top teams in world . Don’t under estimate Italy when it come down to business .

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