October 16, 2021

LIVE: Lithuania vs Italy

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15′ Slivka beats Toloi to an aerial ball and keeps it in play near the corner flag. Lithuania can’t create a shooting opportunity from it but it’s the first time they’ve shown any kind of attacking threat so far.

L. Pellegrini

Yellow Card

Italy

14′ Pellegrini earns himself a yellow card for that challenge. Slivka soon gets to his feet.

13′ Pellegrini has a forward pass intercepted by Slivka and slides in to redeem himself. The midfielder mistimes his challenge. It’s an obvious foul.

11′ Bernardeschi plays a nice one-two with Pessina to dart into the box, crossing from the byline. It’s too close to Svedkauskas who quickly smothers it.

9′ Lithuania haven’t had a sniff of the ball yet. Pellegrini goes for goal again from distance and it whistles way over the crossbar.

7′ Bernardeschi swings the corner in. It comes out to Emerson who aims for the bottom left corner. Svedkauskas claims his effort comfortably. Italy have made a good start to this game.

6′ Chance for Italy! Pellegrini picks up possession outside the box and scoops it straight towards goal. It dips just in front of Lithuania’s goalkeeper Svedkauskas who tips it to his left. Italy get their first corner of the game

4′ Italy are looking confident. Toloi plays a direct pass towards Bernardeschi. Girdvainis gets in front of the winger to cut it out.

2′ Italy push forward from the kick-off. El Shaarawy looks to cross from the left of the box but Lithuania’s captain Mikoliunas is there to block. The visitors retain possession and Locatelli has a shot from range closed down.

1′ The Polish referee Pawel Raczkowski blows his whistle and Immobile gets this game underway!

The two teams are out on the pitch in Vilnius. They stand huddled to sing their respective national anthems. Both are pretty stirring as national anthems go.

Italy are massive favourites to win here. The Italians haven’t lost a single game since 2018 with their unbeaten streak currently at 24 consecutive games and counting. If Lithuania get a point against the group leaders they will be delighted. Mancini will want to see his side do a professional job here and move on.

There are two changes to Lithuania from their defeat to Switzerland three days ago. Girdvainis and Sirgedas start for the hosts. Italy change their team far more drastically from their win over Bulgaria, replacing every single outfield player. Their goalkeeper Donnarumma is the only constant.

SUBS: Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Leonardo Bonucci, Nicolo Barella, Leonardo Spinazzola, Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa, Manuel Lazzari, Salvatore Sirigu, Andrea Belotti, Francesco Acerbi, Stefano Sensi, Alex Meret.

ITALY (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Rafael Toloi, Gianluca Mancini, Alessandro Bastoni, Emerson; Lorenzo Pellegrini, Manuel Locatelli, Matteo Pessina; Federico Bernardeschi, Ciro Immobile (c), Stephan El Shaarawy.

SUBS: Vytas Gaspuitis, Justas Lasickas, Karolis Laukzemis, Nerijus Valskis, Karolis Silkaitis, Ignas Driomovas, Deimantas Petravicius, Marius Adamonis, Tautvydas Eliosius, Rolandas Baravykas, Donatas Kazlauskas, Daniel Romanovskij.

LITHUANIA (4-3-2-1): Tomas Svedkauskas; Saulius Mikoliunas (c), Markas Beneta, Edvinas Girdvainis, Egidijus Vaitkunas; Martynas Dapkus, Domantas Simkus, Vykintas Slivka; Arvydas Novikovas, Gratas Sirgedas; Fedor Chernykh.

Italy are firm favourites to win Group C and are playing like it, notching 2-0 wins against Northern Ireland and Bulgaria so far. With Switzerland level with them on six points but not playing their next qualifier until September now, the Italians will welcome the chance to resume things in the autumn three points better off than their closest rivals in the group.

Lithuania’s World Cup qualifying campaign got off to a false start as Valdas Urbonas’ team lost 1-0 to Switzerland in St. Gallen a few days ago courtesy of an early Xherdan Shaqiri strike. Thankfully they now have another chance to get points on the board as they welcome Roberto Mancini’s Italy to Vilnius.

Hello! Welcome to our live text commentary of this 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification UEFA Group C match between Lithuania and Italy at LFF Stadionas, Vilnius.