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EC Qualification

  • 7 September 2011
  • • 00:15
  • • Stadio Artemio Franchi, Firenze
  • Referee: S. Moen
  • • Attendance: 18000

Euro 2012 Qualifier Preview: Italy - Slovenia

Euro 2012 Qualifier Preview: Italy - Slovenia

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The hosts look to seal their place in next year's European Championships by picking up an invaluable three points against a Slovenian side gunning for the runners-up spot


Italy (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Cassani, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Criscito; Pirlo, De Rossi, Motta; Montolivo; Cassano, Rossi

It is likely that La Nazionale will make a change in defence, where Mattia Cassani should replace Christian Maggio at right-back. The new Fiorentina man hinted that he could be given a chance in the side, after expressing his hope at being presented in Florence on Tuesday night, where he has recently completed a transfer. However, Cesare Prandelli has also indicated that he will not make any major changes to the line-up that struggled to beat Faroe Islands.

Slovenia (4-4-2): Handanovic; Brecko, Cesar, Ilic, Jokic; Koren, Radosavlevic, Ilicic, Birsa; Novakovic, Matavz

Slovenia are expected to name the same team that surprisingly lost to Estonia last week, which may prove to be a significant blow to their qualifying aspirations. However, it is still a very strong squad they possess, which includes five Serie A representatives and two Eredivisie performers in their ranks, aswell as the odd Bundesliga and Belgian Pro League talent.

  • Italy coach Prandelli returned to Fiorentina for his first home qualifier as national team boss, a 5-0 victory against the Faroe Islands on 7 September last year.
  • They prevailed 1-0 when they met Slovenia in Ljubljana on 25 March, where Brazilian-born Thiago Motta (picture right) scored the only goal of the game on his Azzurri debut.
  • Italy's record in six games against their neighbours from the west reads three wins, one defeat and two losses, with two wins coming on home soil.
  • All five meetings since their first encounter have been settled by a single goal.
  • The countries last met on October 8 2005 for the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, as a 1-1 draw was played out, with Bostjan Cesar scoring a late equaliser for the hosts.
  • Italy top Group C with 16 points from their six matches to date, while Slovenia lie in second, five points behind their opponents.
  • Slovenia contain five players who ply their trade in Italy; Samir Handanovic, Valter Birsa, Bojan Jokic, Bostjan Cesar and Josip Ilicic.
  • The Slovenians have won just one of their last four qualifiers, with Northern Ireland lurking just two points behind them, with a game in hand.

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