Poland – Italy: Italy Steals Victory At The Death With A Clever Set-Piece Routine (0-1)
Poland tested Italy’s build-up with an interesting starting formation, determined to block off access to the center. Italy soon found a way around this, upon which Poland responded with an efficient formation change. This evened out the game but wasn’t enough to prevent Italy from snatching victory with an injury time winner.
With Portugal leading Group 3 of League A in the UEFA Nations League by a healthy four points, Italy manager Roberto Mancini picked a strong lineup to travel to the Silesian Stadium in Poland. He fielded a 4-3-3 formation with a fluid front line of Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Bernardeschi, and Federico Chiesa, spearheading a midfield trio of Marco Verratti, Jorginho, and Nicolò Barella.
Poland manager Jerzy Brzęczek took the match just as seriously as Mancini and went with an intriguing 4-4-2 diamond shape, which played out as a crucial element in this match. Robert Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik formed the strike partnership ahead of Piotr Zieliński, the ‘number 10’ who sat in front of a midfield of Karol Linetty, Jacek Góralski, and Damian Szymański.
Italy’s high press troubles Poland throughout the game
Roberto Mancini sought to control the game right from the start and have his team dominate possession through the use of an aggressive man-to-man high press.
Italy tried to hinder Poland's build-up, the wingers pressing the central defenders and Bernadeschi dropping.
This approach allowed Italy to stay in their natural 4-3-3 shape, as Chiesa, Bernardeschi, and Insigne didn’t have to move far from their offensive positions to access Polish center backs Bednarek and Glik and defensive midfielder Góralski. Behind . . .