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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Italy can breathe life into ailing Nations League campaign

Montenegro worthy favourites in Lithuania

Italy drew 1-1 with Poland in Bologna last month
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Poland v Italy
Sky Sports Football, 7.45pm Sunday

Italy have won just one of eight games since their failure to qualify for the World Cup but they can revive their flagging Nations League campaign by beating Poland in Chorzow.

Pressure is growing on Azzurri head coach Roberto Mancini, who has presided over one win, three draws and two defeats since his appointment in May.

Mancini's men have taken one point from two Nations League matches, drawing 1-1 at home to Poland and losing 1-0 in Portugal, and they need to finish with two wins to have any chance of topping League A Group 3.

Italy's clear problem is a lack of goals - they have scored just four in their last five matches. But they were brighter in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at home to Ukraine, winning the shot count 15-8.

Given that match was a friendly, Italy should have plenty more left in the tank.

Their build-up looks better than Poland's preparations. The Poles  were at full throttle when losing 3-2 at home to Portugal on Thursday.

Poland have failed to win in three matches since their dismal World Cup - they drew 1-1 at home to injury-ravaged Ireland last month.

Their advantage over Italy is the presence of a world-class striker in  Robert Lewandowski.

However, they are struggling defensively and their post-World Cup hangover is set to continue.

1pt 7-4 bet365, Betway

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Lithuania v Montenegro
Sky Sports red button, 7.45pm Sunday

Montenegro have slipped from first to third in League C Group 4 after losing 2-0 at home to Serbia on Thursday but they look solid odds-on favourites to bounce back with a win over basement boys Lithuania in Vilnius.

The Montenegrins competed on fairly even terms with Serbia, drawing the shot count 7-7, and face a step down in class.

Lithuania have not taken a point from three Nations League games and haven't won a competitive international since a 2-0 success at home to Malta in October 2016.

2pts 20-21 BoyleSports

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Faroe Islands v Kosovo
Sky Sports red button, 5pm Sunday

Kosovo are leading League D Group 3 after taking seven points from three games and they can cement their position by beating Faroe Islands in Torshavn.

Steady progress is being made by the Kosovans, who have been playing official international fixtures for just over two years.

They have won five and drawn one of their matches in 2018, including a 2-0 triumph at home to the Faroes last month.

Qualification for Euro 2020 looks a realistic target for Kosovo, but the Islanders are battling with Malta to avoid finishing bottom in Group 3. They have lost their last two matches without scoring a goal.

2pts 11-8 Sky Bet

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Poland have failed to win in three matches since their dismal World Cup
E.W. Terms
Sky bet