Thursday November 10 2011
Italy side to face Poland named

Italy will face Poland on Friday with Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini in attack, while Ignazio Abate will make his debut at right-back.

Boss Cesare Prandelli announced his starting XI on Thursday, but did add that there would be changes made to the team after the break.

Balotelli and Pazzini come into the side given that Antonio Cassano is recovering from heart surgery, while Giuseppe Rossi will be out for six months after damaging knee ligaments.

“Balotelli needs to go on to the pitch with no pressure on him,” Prandelli noted.

“The fact that he hasn’t scored for Italy yet shouldn’t be an obsession for him. He just needs to stay serene and the goal will come naturally.

“The Rossi-Cassano-Balotelli trident? We had it up to a few weeks ago, but it hasn’t gone. We just need to be patient.”

Milan man Abate will be thrown into the team for the first time, while Andrea Ranocchia has recovered from injury and will partner Giorgio Chiellini in defence.

Riccardo Montolivo will be used in an advanced midfield role behind the two strikers as Prandelli will keep faith with the 4-3-1-2 system.

However, the side are expected to switch to a 4-3-3 at some stage during the tie once Juventus’ Simone Pepe comes off the bench.

“Simone has been doing really well in training,” added the tactician. “He’s convinced me to use him in the next two games against Poland and Uruguay.

“We’ll change the system against Poland after the interval to try a few experiments. The first half, though, will be one for continuity.”

It’s being claimed that Torino stopper Angelo Ogbonna could make his debut as a substitute in the game, while Juve’s Alessandro Matri is being tipped to be used too.

Thiago Motta, Alberto Aquilani and Antonio Nocerino should feature at some stage as well.

The Azzurri will play Uruguay on Tuesday where Prandelli could try a front two of Balotelli and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo.

Italy starting XI: Buffon; Abate, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Criscito; Pirlo, De Rossi, Marchisio; Montolivo; Balotelli, Pazzini

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