Tuesday August 9 2011
Prandelli: 'How Italy will face Spain'

Cesare Prandelli has confirmed Italy will face Spain tomorrow with Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi “to not give them reference points.”

The 2006 World Cup winners welcome the 2010 champions to the Stadio San Nicola in Bari on Wednesday night.

“I'm taking this approach to ensure we don't give Spain reference points,” said the Coach of his Cassano-Rossi partnership.

“A centre-forward would've had more trouble, because we don't have the wingers right now.

“Besides, Antonio is well aware this is an important game for him. At this moment he needs a great performance in front of his fans and in his home town.

“My line-up comes from good sense and logic. For the rest, I have a midfield of great quality and am focusing on that, even if it is also Spain's greatest strength.”

It's believed the midfield will have Andrea Pirlo, Thiago Motta and Daniele De Rossi plus either Alberto Aquilani or Riccardo Montolivo.

Cassano is struggling to get any playing time at Milan and could move on this summer, but will start against Spain. On the other hand, Manchester City hitman Mario Balotelli is benched.

“I saw him very motivated and relaxed, so he trained with intensity,” continued Prandelli.

“Mario has to make people talk about his performances and what he does on the field rather than other issues. Am I sick of him? How could I be, he's only been here a couple of days!”

Spain are on stunning form and are the reigning world and European champions, so Italy face an extremely tough friendly test.

“There is always the risk of a hammering when you play against Spain, but during the match we must make our possession and quality count.”

Italy (probable): Buffon; Maggio, Ranocchia, Bonucci, Criscito; Pirlo, Thiago Motta, De Rossi, Montolivo; Cassano, Rossi

Squad numbers: 1 Buffon, 2 Ogbonna, 3 Chiellini, 4 Criscito, 5 De Rossi, 6 Thiago Motta, 7 Pazzini, 8 Marchisio, 9 Balotelli, 10 Cassano, 11 Maggio, 12 Sirigu, 13 De Sanctis, 14 Aquilani, 15 Ranocchia, 16 Cassani, 17 Palombo, 18 Montolivo, 19 Bonucci, 20 Giovinco, 21 Pirlo, 22 Rossi, 23 Nocerino, 24 Balzaretti