Italy will host at the Sweden at the Dino Manuzzi in Cesena on Wednesday night. The Azzurri are coming off the back of a well earned goalless draw with Holland, whilst Sweden last played in a 4-1 victory over Albania back in October. Marcello Lippi will be looking for the same level of performance that saw the home side hold the Dutch over the weekend, although new tactics maybe on the cards as the Italian coach has been testing out a 4-2-3-1 formation to try and utilise all his attacking options. Sweden will not be using this game as an experiment and will field a strong line up. It will no doubt be a big test for the Azzurri with the Swedes being notoriously hard to break down, and some of the young pretenders in the Italian camp will have to step up and be counted.
Lippi played a match between ranks this week and has been experimenting with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Gianluca Zambrotta and Fabio Cannavaro have all been sent home and will not feature in the game against Sweden. With these players rested it hints that Lippi will be fielding a young side and one that will be more attacking in their approach. The in-house game contained two teams, with the one expected to start the game containing Davide Biondini and Antonio Candreva. Giampaolo Pazzini will receive an opportunity to prove that he should be the second prima punta in the squad to South Africa, after Alberto Gilardino.
2 – Maggio – 5 Legrottaglie – 4 Chiellini – 3 Criscito
6 Biondini – 10 Montolivo
7 Marchionni – 8 Candreva – 11 Di Natale
Sweden will play a 4-4-2 formation, as ever, and will try to be very difficult to break down. Andreas Isaksson will be ever dependable in goal whilst the back four will consist of Olof Mellberg, Mikael Nilsson, Daniel Majstorovic and Berang Safari. The midfield will have the ever improving Sebastian Larsson playing alongside the super-talented Kim Källström, whilst Anders Svensson and Rasmus Elm will battle for every ball. Zlatan Ibrahimović will be missing from the game, having pulled out of the squad amidst uncertainty over the genuine reason as to why. Youngster Marcus Berg, who was Sweden’s top scorer in this summer’s U-21 European Championship, is set to take his place.
2 Nilsson – 3 Mellberg – 4 Majstorovic – 5 Safari
7 Larsson – 8 Kallstrom – 11 Svensson – 6 Rasmus Elm
9 Berg – 10 Elmander
Italy will be using this game to test out new faces and new tactics. Lippi has been criticised for not including the superb Antonio Cassano, and in response he has experimented with systems in an attempt to extract more goals out of his side. All of the new faces that faced the Dutch on the weekend performed well and this will be another opportunity to impress the manager, especially as Lippi has hinted there are not many more places left on the plane to South Africa. Sweden have failed to qualify for the World Cup and will have to rebuild, however it is a full strength line-up (bar Ibrahimović) that will face the Italians as they will want to use this prestige friendly to show the world that Sweden are down but not out.