Italy will be in party mood as the national team trot out for the first time since their Euro 2020 triumph.
They’re under little pressure here against weak opponents, with nine points already safely tucked under their bests from three outings in Group C so far during these World Cup Qualifiers.
Indeed, that forms part of a wider unbeaten run that stretches to an incredible 34 matches now, where the Azzurri have emerged victorious 26 times inside 90 minutes.
That includes 12 of the last 15 as only Austria, Spain and England took them to extra time or penalties in the pressure cooker environment of tournament football over the summer.
Prior to their knockout games with those sides and Belgium, Italy had registered clean sheets in 11 consecutive matches, with five of those games finishing 2-0.
In fact, all three of their World Cup Qualifiers have ended in that scoreline as Roberto Mancini’s men have eased past Northern Ireland (H), Bulgaria (A) and Lithuania (A).
Italy’s recent record in qualifiers has also been superb and they’ve won all 13 since the start of their Euro 2020 campaign, scoring a total of 43 goals as they netted a minimum of twice in each, while also conceding just four down the other end.
Italy To Win To Nil
On home turf, their record in such fixtures is even more stark as they’ve won 42 of 51 unbeaten games since the start of qualification for the 2002 World Cup.
No team managed to put more than one goal past them, so the outlook for Bulgaria in this fixture is pretty bleak.
That’s especially the case given the visitors lack any big-name stars from Europe’s major leagues and have been utterly dreadful in recent years, holding a W2-D9-L17 record going back to late 2018.
Scoring goals in particular has been an issue and of the 28 games in total, they’ve netted more than once on just two occasions, with those coming against Gibraltar and Kosovo.
They’ve now failed to score in 12 of the last 19, including just once in their last five, with new manager Yasen Petrov unable to alter their fortunes with the limited tools at his disposal.
Up against the best sides they’ve encountered over this spell – England, France, Italy, Switzerland and Wales – they’ve lost all seven matches by an aggregate 20-1 scoreline.
ITALY TO WIN TO NIL