NEWS
Friday September 6 2013
Line-ups: Italy-Bulgaria

Italy go with Alberto Gilardino, Lorenzo Insigne and Thiago Motta in tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria.

The Group B game kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) at the Stadio Barbera in Palermo.

Coach Cesare Prandelli has limited options, as Mario Balotelli, Dani Osvaldo (who scored twice in Sofia) and Riccardo Montolivo are all suspended.

It means Genoa veteran Gilardino leads the attack with support from Napoli starlet Insigne and Lazio’s Antonio Candreva.

Insigne was a late addition to the starting XI, as he was originally expected to be benched in favour of Sunderland wide man Emanuele Giaccherini.

It is the 22-year-old’s first start in a senior Italy jersey and only his third cap.

Thiago Motta returns for his first Italy appearance since the Euro 2012 Final, as he has rediscovered his form at PSG.

Bulgaria are second in Group B, four points behind Italy and still unbeaten. They held the Azzurri to a 2-2 draw in Sofia a year ago.

They are without suspended midfielder Georgi Milanov, but defender Nikolay Bodurov shook off an injury.

Italy’s next game is at the Juventus Stadium in Turin against Cyprus on Tuesday September 10.

The Nazionale have not lost a World Cup qualifier for nine years – 23 consecutive games.

Elsewhere in Group B this evening, Armenia earned a shock 2-1 victory in the Czech Republic, putting them level with their opponents in third place on nine points.

Bulgaria currently have 10 points and Italy 14. Malta-Denmark is also on tonight. Click here for the full Group B standings.

Italy: Buffon; Abate, Bonucci, Chiellini, Antonelli; Thiago Motta, Pirlo, De Rossi; Candreva, Insigne; Gilardino

Italy bench: Sirigu, Marchetti, Maggio, Astori, Ranocchia, Aquilani, Diamanti, Florenzi, Verratti, El Shaarawy, Gabbiadini, Giaccherini

Bulgaria: Mihaylov; Y Minev, Bodurov, Ivanov, V Minev; Dyakov; Manolev, Iliev, Gadzhev, Popov; Tonev

Bulgaria bench: Stoyanov, Zanev, Dimitrov, J Hristov, Milanov, Alexandrov, Delev, Rangelov, Nedelev, Zlatinsky, V Hristov, Gargorov

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