There are increasing calls for Italy to adopt a 3-5-2 formation against Uruguay with Ciro Immobile coming in.
The Azzurri need at least a point to go through to the World Cup knockouts, whereas a defeat on Tuesday in Natal would eliminate them.
Daniele De Rossi is ruled out with a calf injury, but Mattia De Sciglio has shaken off a thigh problem and is available.
There are several options open to Coach Cesare Prandelli and Italian newspapers are almost all urging him to go for a three-man defence.
It would be the ‘Juventus block’ of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci (who has not featured at all in the World Cup so far) and Giorgio Chiellini.
Matteo Darmian would return to the right side with Milan’s De Sciglio making his debut on the left.
Andrea Pirlo and Marco Verratti are expected to start together, but there are other alternatives in the final third.
Some are calling for Antonio Candreva and Claudio Marchisio as support for Mario Balotelli, or even Antonio Cassano in the ‘hole.’
The majority of the Italian papers are pushing for Torino hitman Immobile to be introduced, as he was top scorer in Serie A this season with 22 goals and recently sealed an €18m transfer to Borussia Dortmund.
Immobile could be a partner to Balotelli – a completely new approach never tested before – or as a replacement for the Milan striker.
In preparation for this tournament, the Azzurri drew seven games and won just once, a 5-3 victory over Fluminense.
That game saw Immobile start with Lorenzo Insigne, his former Pescara teammate, and Torino companion Alessio Cerci.
Using that 4-3-3 system, Immobile grabbed a hat-trick and the Napoli starlet the other two goals.
Italy probable (3-4-2-1): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Darmian, Verratti, Pirlo, De Sciglio; Candreva, Marchisio; Balotelli
Italy alternative (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Darmian, Verratti, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Sciglio; Balotelli, Immobile
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