Tuesday June 3 2014
Prandelli confirms Italy XI

Cesare Prandelli has confirmed the starting XI for Italy’s friendly match against Luxembourg on Wednesday evening.

The Azzurri face the European minnows in Perugia tomorrow night, before flying out to Rio to start their World Cup preparations proper.

And the Coach has revealed that he will make nine changes from the team that drew with Republic of Ireland last Saturday – only Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio retain their spots.

“The team will be: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Sciglio; De Rossi, Pirlo, Verratti; Candreva, Marchisio; Balotelli,” he confirmed.

The tactician then commented on Mario Balotelli’s fitness and admitted to Romulo’s assertion that the midfielder persuaded him to be dropped because of fitness.

“Balotelli is fine. He’s a bit tired but that’s only from all the work he’s been doing.

“I’ve never seen him work so hard and I don’t think he’s ever looked so good.

“We looked at Romulo and wondered what was going on. The [fitness] results were not brilliant and we told him.

“Then he started crying and said that he couldn’t take the place of a fully-fit teammate.”

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