Saturday October 7 2017
Italy changes in Albania

Italy are expected to use a 4-2-4 formation against Albania on Monday with Eder, Antonio Candreva and Bryan Cristante stepping in.

It kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) and is the final game of the Azzurri’s World Cup qualifying group.

Following the 1-1 draw with Macedonia, this has become a very important match indeed.

The Nazionale will be guaranteed a place in the play-offs if they pick up a point in Albania, although that could be secure today if Bosnia fail to beat Belgium.

However, points are needed to boost Italy’s status in the FIFA ranking, or they will get an extremely tough draw for the play-offs, potentially facing the likes of Croatia or Portugal.

Andrea Barzagli pulls out with a muscular problem and Coach Giampiero Ventura abandons the 3-4-3 experiment for a return to his favoured 4-2-4-.

Candreva comes back in to replace Simone Verdi in the starting XI, with his Inter teammate Eder expected to partner Ciro Immobile.

Atalanta midfielder Cristante made his senior Italy debut as a substitute against Macedonia and could get the nod ahead of Roberto Gagliardini.

There is another concern ahead of the play-offs, as Immobile and Marco Parolo are one yellow card away from suspension, so they could be rested.

The injury crisis has ruled out Marco Verratti, Claudio Marchisio, Daniele De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Andrea Belotti, though Stephan El Shaarawy could be back on the bench.

Italy (probable): Buffon; Zappacosta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Darmian; Cristante, Parolo; Candreva, Immobile, Eder, Insigne

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