NEWS
Friday June 1 2018
Line-ups: France-Italy

Roberto Mancini makes several changes as Italy face star-studded France, bringing in Federico Chiesa, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Mattia Caldara, Rolando Mandragora and Domenico Berardi.

The friendly kicks off at the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

Follow the build-up and action as it happens while giving your views on the LIVEBLOG.

New CT Mancini made a decent enough debut on Monday, beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 with goals from Mario Balotelli and Andrea Belotti.

That was Balo’s first Italy appearance since the 2014 World Cup and it took him just 21 minutes to get on the scoresheet.

He went off with a muscular problem and that left him in doubt this evening, but he was determined to push through the pain and start in what has been his home arena for the last two years with OGC Nice.

The captain’s armband for Italy always goes to the player with the most caps and, if Leonardo Bonucci had been rested, Balotelli would get to lead out his country for the first time on his 35th appearance.

However, the Milan defender is in the starting XI anyway and therefore keeps the captaincy.

Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara gets his senior Italy debut, as does Juventus-owned Crotone midfielder Rolando Mandragora, while Mattia De Sciglio, Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, Inter full-back Danilo D’Ambrosio and Fiorentina starlet Chiesa also step in to the starting XI.

Sassuolo forward Berardi had a very poor season by his usual standards, so his inclusion in the starting XI is frankly a surprise.

France are preparing for the World Cup and comfortably saw off the Republic of Ireland in another friendly, but bring out the big guns here, returning Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba to the line-up.

Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé are testing a tactical system that sees them regularly swap places as the main centre-forward, trying to confuse opposition defences.

Coach Didier Deschamps, formerly of Juventus, is under pressure with multiple reports Zinedine Zidane will take his job after the summer.

France: Lloris; Pavard, Rami, Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Tolisso, Kanté, Pogba; Griezmann, Mbappé, Dembélé

Italy: Sirigu; D’Ambrosio, Bonucci, Caldara, De Sciglio; Pellegrini, Jorginho, Mandragora; Berardi, Balotelli, Chiesa

Ref: Taylor (ENG)

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/