Italy’s only pre-Euro 2012 friendly test has Riccardo Montolivo supporting Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano against Russia.
The other match against Luxembourg was cancelled on Tuesday after the earthquake that hit the Emilia-Romagna region.
Cesare Prandelli is adopting a 4-3-1-2 with Montolivo as trequartista behind Cassano-Balotelli, a strike pair who have played only 59 minutes of football together.
Their only game as a partnership was Prandelli’s first ever friendly, a 1-0 defeat to the Ivory Coast in August 2010.
Despite the betting scandal that threatens to pull him into the investigation, Leonardo Bonucci starts in central defence with Juventus teammate Andrea Barzagli.
Russia are also in Euro 2012 and have the second strongest defensive record in qualifying, behind Italy, by conceding only four goals.
Kick-off in Zurich is at 19.45 UK time.
Italy (4-3-1-2): 1 Buffon; 2 Maggio, 15 Barzagli, 19 Bonucci, 6 Balzaretti; 16 De Rossi, 21 Pirlo, 8 Marchisio; 18 Montolivo; 10 Cassano, 9 Balotelli
Italy bench: 14 De Sanctis, 7 Abate, 4 Ogbonna, 3 Chiellini, 5 Thiago Motta, 23 Nocerino, 22 Diamanti, 13 Giaccherini, 17 Borini, 11 Di Natale, 20 Giovinco
Russia (4-3-3): Malafeev; Nababkin, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Zhirkov; Shirokov, Denisov, Zyryanov; Dzagoev, Arshavin, Kerzhakov
Ref: Haenni (Swi)