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Italy - Luxembourg Preview: Azzurri look to warm up in style ahead of Euro 2012
The 2006 World Cup winners will be confident of a convincing victory against the minnows in Parma on Tuesday as they aim to impress at Poland and Ukraine this summer
By Adam Scime
Maggio, Bonucci, Barzagli, Ogbonna
De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio
Martino, Blaise, Philipps, Janisch
Laterza, Peters, Bettmer, Lewech
Italy's preparations for Euro 2012 continue with a friendly against Luxembourg, during which coach Cesare Prandelli will likely tinker to find his best possible starting XI ahead of the Group C opener with Spain on June 10.
Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini remains sidelined with a thigh problem after missing the Coppa Italia final loss to Napoli but midfielder Riccardo Montolivo has recovered from injury and may play a part. Meanwhile, the likes of Emanuele Giaccherini and Siena striker Mattia Destro could be given their maiden bows for the Azzurri.
However, the latest developments in a match-fixing scandal in Italy see left-back Domenico Criscito under investigation and he is set to be left out of the squad for this friendly, as well as Euro 2012 itself.
Striker Mario Balotelli is also back to full fitness and is expected to lead the line alongside either Antonio Cassano - who looks set for his first national team appearance since returning from a minor heart operation - or Antonio Di Natale, who has not featured for Italy since World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
On the other side, Luxembourg boss Luc Holtz will be hoping to showcase a number of younger stars against the former world champions, including 17-year-old defender Chris Philipps, Tom Laterza, and teenage striker Maurice Deville.
Veteran playmaker Rene Peters is also set to earn his 87th cap, as he closes in on his country's all-time record of 98 appearances set by defender Jeff Strasser.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Italy have won the European Championship just once, back in 1968 when they defeated Yugoslavia 2-0 in a final replay after the first match ended 1-1.
- Prandelli's side topped qualifying Group C with a record of eight wins and two draws, only conceding two goals along the way.
- Goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon is the active player with the most caps (113) for the Italian national team, 23 behind all-time leader Fabio Cannavaro.
- Luxembourg have faced Italy eight times in their history, and not scored a single goal, losing all eight matches.
- The European minnows finished bottom of Euro 2012 qualifying Group E, with a record of one win, one draw, and one loss.
- Luxembourg are 119th in the latest Fifa world ranking, released in April 2012, and have never been placed higher than 93rd.
Want to check out Italy's competition in the Euros? Watch Croatia’s friendlies LIVE!
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Top 3 Predictions
Italy 3-0 Luxembourg
- 22.66 %
Italy 2-0 Luxembourg
- 15.15 %
Italy 4-0 Luxembourg
- 10.33 %
|Mar 26, 2013||Malta 0 - Italy 2||WCQ|
|Mar 21, 2013||Italy 2 - Brazil 2||FR|
|Feb 6, 2013||Netherlands 1 - Italy 1||FR|
|Nov 14, 2012||Italy 1 - France 2||FR|
|Oct 16, 2012||Italy 3 - Denmark 1||WCQ|
|Returns:||Italy £10.63||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £120.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Luxembourg £340.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
Plenty of talk has been focused on whether Prandelli can rely on the temperamental Manchester City forward going into Euro 2012, but the coach has always stated his confidence in the former Inter star and is likely to give him the start to show off his immense talent at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.
The SV Elversberg striker is one of the few players on the team to play his football outside the country and at just 19 years of age, has had an impressive start to his senior national team career with two goals in two caps. A strike against the four-time World Cup winners would certainly be a boost to his growing CV.
Italy should have a straight-forward match against their less-illustrious opponents and easily win the clash. Prandelli will most likely be more interested in testing out different tactics and combinations rather than the result itself and the Azzurri's next friendly with Russia will be far more telling regarding their Euro 2012 hopes than this fixture.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed