Our prediction for this match:
Against all odds, Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals. The Azzurri are ready for a new beginning and, no doubt, Monday’s football match against Saudi Arabia is of big importance for them. The Italians are likely to go all guns blazing at the Green Falcons when the two teams face each other in St. Gallen. Unlike Italy, Saudi Arabia booked their place at the FIFA World Cup finals, with the team beating Japan in the decider. The Saudi Arabians aim to prepare for the showpiece tournament in Russia, but the game against Italy will be anything but a walk in the park for the Asian side. Italy want this win more than Saudi Arabia and that is the main reason why we are tempted to put our money on Roberto Mancini’s troops, who are eager to make amends for the unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.
Highlighted Player (Leonardo Bonucci):
Over the years Leonardo Bonucci has established himself as one of Juve’s key defenders. The 190-cm-tall centre back, who is capable of playing as a right back as well, was born in Viterbo on 1 May, 1987 and he started his senior career at Inter. However, he made no more than one league appearance for the Nerrazzurri between 2005 and 2009.
After ending his loan spells with the likes of Treviso and Pisa, he joined Bari in 2009 and he scored one goal in 38 league games for the club. Juventus signed him in July, 2010 for a fee of €15.5 million. Leonardo Bonucci won his fifth Scudetto with Juve in the 2015/2016 season and he played in the 2014/2015 Champions League final against Barcelona. However, the Bianconeri were beaten by Barca in the title game.
Bonucci made his Italy debut on 3 March, 2010 and two years later he participated in the Euro 2012 final against Spain. The Azzurri were hammered by Vicente del Bosque’s troops 4-0 in the Olympic Stadium clash.
Highlighted Team (Saudi Arabia):
Saudi Arabia Football Federation was established back in 1956, but the Saudis qualified for a major tournament 28 years later, when they participated in the AFC Asian Cup. In 1988 Saudi Arabia won their first trophy, with the team beating South Korea in the Asian Cup final.
Eight years later they repeated the success and it has to be noted that they have been playing at the Asian Cup finals ever since. Speaking of their appearances at the FIFA World Cup finals, the Green Falcons did well to qualify for the 1994 tournament, where they made it to the last 16. Saudi Arabia participated at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 tournament as well, but they missed out on a place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
However, the Asian side booked their place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia thanks to a win over Japan in their last group game in the qualifiers. Saudi Arabia’s home kits are white, whilst they wear green jerseys and shirts when playing on the road.