Sunday September 4 2016
Milan flavour to Italy in Israel

Giacomo Bonaventura appears likely to start in Israel, but there are still doubts for the left side of Italy’s midfield.

The opening 2018 World Cup qualifier kicks off in Haifa on Monday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

Leonardo Bonucci returns after taking time out to look after his infant son, while Marco Verratti should take the deep-lying playmaker role.

Coach Giampiero Ventura was believed to have two doubts going into today’s Press conference.

It is now reported that Milan man Bonaventura has won the battle with Federico Bernardeschi for a midfield position.

The only remaining concern is on the left, where Milan teammates Mattia De Sciglio and Luca Antonelli are pushing for one starting spot.

Otherwise, the line-up will be largely the same as the one that lost a friendly 3-1 to France on Thursday.

As for Israel, there appear to be two doubts, including tactical ones, as a three-man defence was tested out in training.

It would be a big change, as this squad generally goes with four at the back in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.

The personnel doubts are between Ben Bitton and Eli Dasa at right-back, while Eyal Golasa of Maccabi Tel-Aviv is not 100 per cent fit with a thigh issue.

It remains to be seen whether Tal Ben-Haim will be the lone striker or partnered by Tomer Hemed.

Israel (probable): Goresh; B Bitton (Dasa), Tzedek, Tibi, Davidzaza; N Bitton, Kayal, Atzili, Golasa; Zahavi; Ben-Haim

Italy (probable): Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Candreva, Parolo, Verratti, Bonaventura, De Sciglio (Antonelli); Eder, Pellè

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