NEWS
Tuesday March 26 2013
Line-ups: Malta-Italy

Italy face Malta in tonight’s World Cup qualifier with a starting XI entirely made up of Juventus and Milan players.

The Azzurri are already top of Group B with 10 points from four games and are fresh from Thursday’s thrilling 2-2 friendly draw against Brazil.

Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo left the squad after that match, as they are both suspended for this fixture.

Curiously, Coach Cesare Prandelli has picked a starting XI consisting entirely of players from Juventus and Milan.

Mario Balotelli is joined by his club teammate Stephan El Shaarawy in attack, with support from Emanuele Giaccherini.

There was a doubt between Giaccherini and Torino’s Alessio Cerci, but Prandelli went for the Juve man in a trequartista role.

Mattia De Sciglio and Ignazio Abate are the Rossoneri full-backs around Bianconeri unit Gigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci.

Claudio Marchisio steps in after he missed the Brazil game due to a bout of tonsillitis, joining Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo.

Malta are bottom of Group B, having lost all four of their matches with one goal scored and 12 conceded.

Their Coach, Pietro Ghedin, was an assistant manager for Italy under Cesare Maldini, Dino Zoff and Giovanni Trapattoni.

Italy have won all five of their previous encounters with Malta, scoring 17 goals and conceding two.

However, the only visits to La Valletta were a 2-0 result in December 1986 and 2-1 in December 1992.

Malta: Haber; Caruana, A Muscat, Sciberras, Dimech, Failla, Briffa, Mifsud, Schembri, Herrera, Camilleri

Malta bench: Hoggi, Agius, Cohen, R Fenech, P Fenechm Vella, R Muscat, Borg

Italy: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Marchisio, Pirlo, Montolivo; Giaccherini; Balotelli, El Shaarawy

Italy bench: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Ranocchia, Astori, Poli, Florenzi, Diamanti, Candreva, Giovinco, Cerci, Gilardino

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