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  • 4 June 2014
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
  • Referee: D. Skomina
  • • Attendance: 28000

Italy - Luxembourg Preview: Prandelli's men desperate to recover from Ireland upset

Italy - Luxembourg Preview: Prandelli's men desperate to recover from Ireland upset

The Azzurri, who face England and Uruguay in Group D at the World Cup, will be desperate to improve on their recent below-par performances as they come up against the minnows

Italy will be confident of reversing a worrying sequence of results when they host Luxembourg in a friendly in Verona on Wednesday.

Cesare Prandelli's men have not tasted victory since a 2-1 triumph over Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifier in September, but will be heavy favourites to end a six-game winless run on Wednesday.

They take on a Luxembourg outfit ranked 112th in the world, 103 places lower than the esteemed four-time world champions.

Italy's latest attempt to secure a win ended in a 0-0 draw with Republic of Ireland on Saturday, with news of an injury to Riccardo Montolivo coming as a real blow.

The AC Milan midfielder fractured his shin bone in the stalemate at Craven Cottage, and has been ruled out of travelling to the finals in Brazil.

Prandelli confirmed his final 23-man party on Sunday, with Giuseppe Rossi the most notable exclusion.

Rossi battled back from a serious knee injury sustained in January to gain a place in Italy's provisonal squad, only to then be omitted.

Among those to make the cut was Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, who expressed his sympathy for Montolivo in a press conference on Monday.

"I can't imagine what Riccardo is going through at the moment," said Verratti. "His injury has shaken us all up a bit.

"But now we have to take this opportunity that has been offered to us by the coach.

"The World Cup is the World Cup – there's going to be great enthusiasm wherever we go. It's going to be exciting to play there.

"To represent the country in South America is going to be a real source of pride for me."

Wednesday's match in Verona represents a golden chance for Italy to gain confidence ahead of their departure for Brazil, against a Luxembourg side that has won only two of their previous 19 fixtures.

Luxembourg's most recent victory came on September 10 - also the same date Italy last won - when Mathias Janisch's late goal secured a 3-2 success over Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier.

Since then, Luxembourg have shipped 16 goals in five matches, including three to Romelu Lukaku in a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Belgium last week.

And Luc Holtz's men will have it all to do if they are to avoid a similar beating at the hands of an Italy side desperate to return to winning ways before their World Cup campaign begins in earnest.

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