NEWS
Wednesday August 14 2013
Line-ups: Italy-Argentina

Italy host Argentina in Rome tonight for an international friendly organised to honour Pope Francis.

Both teams met with His Holiness in the Vatican on Tuesday, are staying in the same hotel and will travel to the Stadio Olimpico together as a sign of camaraderie in sport.

Injuries have ruled out Mario Balotelli, Andrea Barzagli and Lionel Messi from the game that kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

Roma striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo – who was raised in Argentina but plays for Italy – returns to the Azzurri after he was dropped from the Confederations Cup squad for insulting his then-Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli.

Cesare Prandelli adopts the 4-3-2-1 system with Sunderland’s Emanuele Giaccherini and Lazio’s Antonio Candreva supporting Osvaldo.

An intriguing switch is PSG talent Marco Verratti in midfield rather than Andrea Pirlo, starting the path of succession for the playmaker role.

Giorgio Chiellini celebrates his 29th birthday with a starting spot in defence, joined by Genoa’s Luca Antonelli and Daniele De Rossi in a centre-back role.

Argentina have several familiar faces in their line-up, including Inter’s Hugo Campagnaro and Rodrigo Palacio, Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andujar, Lazio midfielder Lucas Biglia and new Napoli hitman Gonzalo Higuain.

Roma forward Erik Lamela has shaken off an injury to start in an all-Serie A trident.

Italy have not beaten Argentina since a 2-1 friendly in Zurich back on June 10 1987, most famously losing the 1990 World Cup semi-final on penalties.

Italy: Buffon; Maggio, De Rossi, Chiellini, Antonelli; Montolivo, Verratti, Marchisio; Candreva, Giaccherini; Osvaldo

Argentina: Andujar; Campagnaro, Fernandez, Garay, Basanta; Di Maria, Mascherano, Biglia; Lamela, Higuain, Palacio

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