Prandelli takes chance to test water

14 August 2012 08:17

Like his England counterpart Roy Hodgson, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will be using Wednesday's friendly clash here at the Stade de Suisse to see which of his fringe players is up to scratch ahead of the Azzurri's opening World Cup qualifier.

Before departing for the Swiss capital, Prandelli announced that he will start with just three of the men who took to the field in June's European Championship quarter-final penalty shoot-out victory against England.

All of those who play their club football for Juventus and Napoli were left out having been involved in the Italian Supercup final in Beijing at the weekend, while Manchester City's Mario Balotelli is sidelined because of an eye infection.

That means Ignazio Abate of AC Milan and Roma duo Federico Balzaretti and Daniele De Rossi are the only survivors from June's victory in a game that helped the Italians on their way to the Euro 2012 final.

Paris Saint-Germain's Salvatore Sirigu will start in goal, while Angelo Ogbonna and Davide Astori will form a partnership in the heart of the defence and Antonio Nocerino will come into the midfield along with Liverpool flop Alberto Aquilani.

Alessandro Diamanti, once of West Ham United, will join Stephen El Shaarawy of AC Milan and Mattia Destro of Roma in a three-man attack.

"I don't know if the team that plays tomorrow (Wednesday) will be the same as the one that plays against Bulgaria (in Italy's opening 2014 World Cup qualifier on September 7)," said Prandelli.

"I want to see which of these boys are capable of being involved in the qualifying campaign.

"If two or three of them demonstrate their readiness in a test like this then the game will have been worthwhile."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 16:17