TEAM NEWS: Balotelli retains spot as Italy field unchanged lineup for Croatia clash

Coach Cesare Prandelli keeps faith with partnership of Man City striker and Antonio Cassano for the vital Group C match-up, as Daniele De Rossi continues to deputise in defence

Italy have named an unchanged XI for Thursday evening's Euro 2012 clash with Group C rivals Croatia in Poznan, which kicks off at 18:00CET.

It had been expected Mario Balotelli would be dropped in favour of Antonio Di Natale, who came off the bench to score in the 1-1 draw with Spain last week, but coach Cesare Prandelli has opted to keep faith in the Manchester City striker.

Additionally, makeshift centre-back Daniele De Rossi keeps his place in a three-man defence, where he will partner Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini once more, having impressed in his new role against the Spaniards.

Meanwhile for Croatia, boss Slaven Bilic has also decided to retain all 11 players from the previous match, a 3-1 victory over Republic of Ireland to kick their European campaign off on a winning note.

Strikers Nikica Jelavic and Mario Mandzukic have been rewarded for their goalscoring exploits against the Boys in Green, despite rumours that one of the pair would be sacrificed by the Russia-bound trainer.

The lineups are as follows:

Italy (3-5-2): Buffon; Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini; Maggio, Thiago Motta, Pirlo, Marchisio, Giaccherini; Cassano, Balotelli

Croatia (4-4-2): Pletikosa; Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic; Rakitic, Modric, Vukojevic, Perisic; Jelavic, Mandzukic