Mexico-Italy Preview: Azzurri searching for first victory against El Tri in 43 years
Cesare Prandelli's team are unbeaten in their last six internationals and will look to get their Confederations Cup campaign off to a winning start against the 1999 winners
By Max Bentley
Flores, Rodriguez, Moreno, Salcido
Aquino, Dos Santos, Guardado
Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Sciglio
De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio
Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre could be tempted to make several changes to the side which played out a lacklustre 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Mallorca attacker Giovani dos Santos started that match on the bench and the 24-year-old is expected to replace Guadalajara striker Aldo de Negris in a tactical change which would see el Tri change to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Elsewhere Gerardo Torrado is looking to make his 142nd international cap in the heart of midfield whilst Javier Aquino could replace Pablo Barrera.
Mario Balotelli is eligible for Italy despite picking up a red card in the World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic last Friday although AC Milan teammate Stephan El Shaarawy is still nursing a minor ankle injury.
Cesare Prandelli has opted for a 4-3-2-1 formation in his training sessions this week with Juventus duo Emanuele Giaccherini and Claudio Marchisio supporting Balotelli.
Mattia De Sciglio could be given the nod to start at left-back as Prandelli looks to give some of his younger players international experience, although Giorgio Chiellini could be shifted out wide with Leonardo Bonucci in the centre.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Italy made their Fifa Confederations Cup debut in 2009 but defeats to Brazil and Egypt ensured that Marcello Lippi's side were knocked out in the group stage.
- Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored a joint-tournament record six goals en route to Mexico's 1999 Confederations Cup triumph, when the the hosts defeated Brazil 4-3 in the final.
- The Azzurri eliminated Mexico from the 1970 World Cup but have failed to beat el Tri in their following four encounters, losing two and drawing two.
- Cesare Prandelli's side have lost only one of their last 11 internationals - a 2-1 friendly defeat to France back in November.
- Jose Manuel de la Torre's outfit are unbeaten since a 1-0 friendly defeat to USA last August - a run stretching back 13 games.
- Andrea Pirlo is set to make his 100th international appearance.
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Top 3 Predictions
Mexico 1-2 Italy
- 18.75 %
Mexico 0-2 Italy
- 14.84 %
Mexico 1-3 Italy
- 11.26 %
|World - FIFA Confederations Cup (FCC)||16 Jun 2013||Mexico 1 - Italy 2|
|International Friendlies (FR)||3 Jun 2010||Italy 1 - Mexico 2|
|6 Mar 2014||Mexico 0 - Nigeria 0||FR|
|30 Jan 2014||Mexico 4 - South Korea 0||FR|
|20 Nov 2013||New Zealand 2 - Mexico 4||WCQ|
|13 Nov 2013||Mexico 5 - New Zealand 1||WCQ|
|31 Oct 2013||Mexico 4 - Finland 2||FR|
|18||Jose Andrés Guardado||Midfielder|
|10||Giovani dos Santos||Striker|
|1||Francisco Guillermo Ochoa||Goalkeeper|
|-||Jorge Emmanuel Torres|
|-||Pablo Edson Barrera|
|-||A. De Nigris|
|5||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|16||Daniele De Rossi||Midfielder|
|-||Stephan El Shaarawy|
The 25-year-old Manchester United striker has one of the best goals-to-games rates in international football (0.64) with 32 strikes in 50 appearances. Quick, prolific and intelligent, the 'Little Pea' will be looking to capitalise upon any slip-ups from the Azzurri defence.
The 28-year-old midfielder has struggled to hold down a regular spot for Juventus and Italy, and this is a great chance for him to prove that he has what it takes at the top level. He opened his national account and scored his country's fastest ever goal, after 19 seconds, in the 2-2 friendly draw against Haiti on Tuesday.
Mexico have scored only once in their last four World Cup qualifiers but they have proved a tricky opponent for Italy in recent times and I expect them to open their Confederations Cup campaign with a point.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed