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EC Qualification

  • October 11, 2011
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Stadio Adriatico-Giovanni Cornacchia, Pescara
  • Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
  • • Attendance: 19480
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Euro 2012 Qualifying Preview: Italy v Northern Ireland

Euro 2012 Qualifying Preview: Italy v Northern Ireland

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Tuesday's game has nothing riding on it as Cesare Prandelli's team have secured safe passage to Euro 2012 and the visitors have again failed to qualify for an international event


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ITALY

Buffon
Maggio, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
Pirlo
De Rossi, Marchisio
Aquilani
Rossi, Osvaldo

NORTHERN IRELAND

Mannus
Hodson, McAuley, McLaughlin, Cathcart
McGinn, Davies, Norwood, McCourt
Feeney, Healy



Tuesday’s hosts have the top spot secured in Group C and may play around with their line-up somewhat from the starting XI that held Serbia to a draw on Friday night, with a possible international bow for Pablo Osvaldo.

The Roma striker has been in good form of late, scoring three goals in as many fixtures on the domestic front and coach Cesare Prandelli has been impressed enough to call the former Espanyol attacker up to the squad to replace the injured Mario Balotelli.

Nigel Worthington will be forced to make a host of changes after both Chris Brunt and Sammy Clingan dropped out of the squad with injury, while Lee Camp and Grant McCann are also out with problems, and Kyle Lafferty is suspended for the clash in Pescara. Jonny Evans is doubtful with an ankle problem.

There could be a start for St Johnstone’s Alan Mannus in goal, meanwhile Steven Davies will captain the side in the absence of the injured Aaron Hughes. The Fulham defender recently announced he would be retiring from the international stage after Northern Ireland’s European qualifying campaign, but a groin problem has kept the 31-year-old out of the final two fixtures.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Italy has won the competition just the once, back in 1968 when the tournament took place in its own country, beating Yugoslavia in the final at Roma’s Stadio Olimpico.
  • The Italians also reached the final in 2000, when it denied a second success by late goals from France's Sylvain Wiltord and David Trezeguet after Marco Delvecchio appeared to have given them victory.
  • Tuesday’s hosts are unbeaten in Group C with seven wins and two draws, with one of those ties coming against Northern Ireland.
  • Norther Ireland's first ever international match was against England in 1882, when it was trounced 13-0 in Belfast, a result that remains its heaviest defeat to date.
  • David Healy (pictured right) broke the record for goals scored in a qualifying campaign for the 2008 tournament after netting 13 times.
  • All but one of Northern Ireland’s managers in its history have heralded from the country itself, with Englishman Lawrie McMenemy the odd one out in the list.

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