Sunday June 17 2012
Italy bring back four-man defence?

Cesare Prandelli insisted he wouldn’t change Italy’s 3-5-2 system against Ireland, but it’s reported he tested the four-man defence in a hidden training session.

The Azzurri must win on Monday evening and hope Spain-Croatia doesn’t end 2-2 in order to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

The Coach stated in his Press conference that he would make a few changes to his side, but that did not include the 3-5-2 system.

However, it’s widely reported that Italy held a training session behind closed doors on Saturday that saw them test out the 4-3-1-2 that got them to the tournament.

Andrea Barzagli is fit again after a calf strain, so replaces Leonardo Bonucci at centre-back with their Juventus teammate Giorgio Chiellini.

Federico Balzaretti and Ignazio Abate step in as full-backs, sending Emanuele Giaccherini and Christian Maggio to the bench.

Daniele De Rossi is returned to the midfield role, while there are many doubts over who will be the trequartista.

Some newspapers suggest Thiago Motta behind the strikers, while others consider Alessandro Diamanti or Riccardo Montolivo.

Bologna man Diamanti was a surprise call-up for Euro 2012, but has repeatedly shown great form in training.

Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio remain intact. In attack, Mario Balotelli picked up a right knee injury on Saturday and is expected to miss out on the final Group C game.

This frees Antonio Di Natale to partner Antonio Cassano.

When the media were watching the session, Prandelli tested out a 3-4-1-2, maintaining the diamond midfield but also three at the back.

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