Following injuries to Antonio Cassano, Giuseppe Rossi and, most recently, Sebastian Giovinco, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has decided to start with Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini up front. Both strikers missed Italy’s previous two EURO qualifiers and will be rearing to go against Poland.
In a press conference in Coverciano on Thursday, Prandelli told the Corriere dello Sport: “Balotelli has an extraordinary future ahead of him. Not everything depends on one game and he should not be obsessed about scoring.”
The Azzurri coach also announced that Milan right-back Ignazio Abate will get his first cap for the nazionale. He will start alongside Andrea Ranocchia, Giorgio Chiellini and Domenico Criscito. Ranocchia and Criscito will be returing to the fold after missing the previous two internationals. It was also confirmed that Gianluigi Buffon will achieve his 111th cap.
Prandelli, confirming his starting line-up indicates a continuation in his faith in the 4-3-2-1 formation. Riccardo Montolivo will play behind the strikers while Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Caludio Marchisio will constitute the three man midfield.
Prandelli has warned his players not to take Poland lightly and will be hoping that his squad can end 2011 on a good note.