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Friendlies

  • 11 August 2011
  • • 00:15
  • • Stadio Comunale San Nicola, Bari
  • Referee: F. Brych
2
FT
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International Friendly Preview: Italy - Spain

The 2006 World Cup winners host the 2010 champions in a mouth-watering clash in Bari on Wednesday, in what is probably the midweek calendar's most glamorous game of all


PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Italy (4-1-3-2)

Buffon; Maggio, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Criscito; Montolivo, De Rossi, Pirlo; Aquilani; Cassano, Rossi

Italy


Italy coach Cesare Prandelli looks set to name a strong line-up for Wednesday's prestigious friendly against World Champions Spain in Bari. Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who looks certain to leave Anfield this month on a permanent deal, should play in an advanced role behind strikers Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi, with Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo pulling the strings in midfield.

Spain (4-3-3)

Casillas; Iraola, Pique, Albiol, Arbeloa; Thiago/Cazorla, Xabi Alonso, Busquets; Iniesta, Torres, Villa

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is without talisman Xavi, who pulled out of the squad earlier this week, and centre-back Carles Puyol, who is still working his way back from a knee injury. Del Bosque could therefore hand a debut to another Barcelona player, Thiago, who has looked impressive in pre-season. Recent Malaga signing Santi Cazorla is another option in that role. Meanwhile, Real Madrid's Raul Albiol is set to take Puyol's place in what remains a strong side.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Italy lost 1-0 to Ivory Coast in Prandelli's first match in charge, but were then unbeaten for their next nine games before going down 2-0 to Ireland in a friendly earlier this summer.
  • With five wins and a draw so far, Italy are currently five points clear in their qualifying group for Euro 2012. Slovenia are second.
  • Andrea Pirlo is set to win his first cap as a Juventus player, after signing from AC Milan at the end of May, and his 75th in all.
  • Spain have called up Barcelona midfielder Thiago, who has been on fire in pre-season. Thiago is eligible to play for Brazil through his parentage and also Italy, where he was born. The 20-year-old now looks set to make his Spain debut, however, in the city of his birth - Bari.
  • Recent recruits Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal look set to become the seventh and eighth Malaga players to represent Spain, respectively.
  • Real Madrid and Barcelona face each other in the first leg of the Supercopa on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu, so very few of their players are likely to be made to play 90 minutes in this match.
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