Monday March 25 2013
Prandelli has one Malta doubt

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli says he has one doubt about his starting XI that will face Malta in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

“I won’t tell you the side,” the tactician said at Coverciano on Monday after last Thursday’s 2-2 friendly draw with Brazil.

“I have a doubt between Emanuele Giaccherini and Alessio Cerci and I won’t decide until tomorrow, 30 minutes until kick-off.”

Prandelli used Giaccherini in training this morning which suggests that he’ll opt for the Juventus man and a 4-3-1-2 instead of a 4-3-3.

“I’m convinced that we are not totally ready to play with three forwards,” he added. “I want to see and understand how our opponents will line up.

“It’s a very delicate game, we have to make sure that we don’t offer them space.”

The tactician, who is without the suspended Daniele De Rossi and Daniel Pablo Osvaldo, gave Torino’s Cerci his debut last week as he looks for a right-sided attacker.

“We’ve called up Cerci and Lazio’s Antonio Candreva who can both play on the right of the trident. Cerci is more of an attacker, Candreva more of a midfielder. But the doubt remains between Cerci and Giaccherini.

“Alessandro Diamanti? He’s having an important season at Bologna, but there are precise roles in the national team, especially when it comes to constructing play.

“I’ve spoken to him, he likes to start on the right and cut in centrally, but we’ll look at other opportunities for now. Cerci is more of an attacker than he is.”

If Giaccherini does get the nod, then Italy are expected to line-up with six Juventus players and five from Milan.

“To play with two blocks of important players allows you to work with players who already know each other. It becomes easier tactically.”

There are set to be two changes to the side that faced Brazil in Geneva with Claudio Marchisio and Stephan El Shaarawy expected to be brought into the team.

“I’m convinced that El Shaarawy can play well in a 4-3-3 or with a four-man midfield. I’m also convinced that he and Mario Balotelli, by playing game after game, can do some really interesting things.”

Malta are bottom of Group B, having conceded 12 goals in their four qualifying matches so far.

“Would I be happy with a 1-0? It depends on how we go about securing it. The points are what matter right now. But I’m convinced that you get results by playing well.

“I hope we create as many chances as we did against Brazil.

“To get six points from our next two games – Malta and the Czech Republic – would be of fundamental importance in terms of qualification.”

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