Italy - France Preview: Rivals face off in Parma in anticipated year-end friendly
Didier Deschamps' men will be hoping to correct their woeful record on Italian soil, as they seek an improvement on last month's draw with Spain.
By Mohammed Ali
Maggio, Barzagli, Chiellini, Balzaretti
Candreva, Verratti, Marchisio
Balotelli, El Shaarawy
Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sakho, Evra
Cabaye, Capoue, Matuidi
Menez, Giroud, Ribery
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has dropped midfielder Daniele De Rossi from his squad to face France, after the Roma player was sent off in the Derby della Capitale on Sunday for swinging at Stefano Mauri and subsequently falling foul of the manager's code of ethics.
Alessandro Florenzi is called up for the very first time, but the Azzurri coach has been dealt a setback with Domenico Criscito and Pablo Osvaldo withdrawing from the squad due to injury.
Prandelli later confirmed on Tuesday the starting eleven, which includes Ligue 1 duo Marco Verratti and Salvatore Sirigu, who incidentally play their football in France with Paris Saint-Germain, with Antonio Candreva set to win his fifth cap.
Didier Deschamps, meanwhile, is without Gael Clichy and Christophe Jallet after the full-backs limped out with injury, with Bordeaux's Benoit Tremoulinas and Olympique Lyonnais' Anthony Reveillere handed a call-up.
Yoann Gourcuff returns to the squad, but Etienne Capoue is expected to be preferred to Maxime Gonalons just behind Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi. Karim Benzema's withdrawal means Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will be handed a start at Stadio Tardini on Wednesday.
Hugo Lloris' ongoing problems at Tottenham remains a selection headache for Deschamps to contend with, as his former Olympique de Marseille captain Steve Mandanda lies in wait for a start.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Italy have won five, drawn four and lost four of their 12 games in 2012 ahead of Wednesday's year-ending international against France in Parma.
- The Azzurri won the last contest against their neighbours, prevailing 2-0 at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland in the group stage.
Since then, Italy have won 13 of their 19 games against France at home.
- Italy rose to fifth in the Fifa World Rankings, whilst France dropped below Ivory Coast, Switzerland and Ecuador to 18th place.
France have won seven, drawn three, and lost three of their 13 games in 2012.
- Les Bleus' last win on Italian soil came in 1994, winning 1-0 in Naples in a friendly.
France's last encounter on the peninsula was in 2007, a 0-0 draw in European Championship qualifying. Only Mickael Landreau, Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery were selected in both match squads.
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Top 3 Predictions
Italy 2-1 France
- 19.7 %
Italy 2-0 France
- 15.88 %
Italy 1-2 France
- 8.88 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Nov 14, 2012||Italy 1 - France 2|
|UEFA European Championship (EC)||Jun 17, 2008||France 0 - Italy 2|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Sep 8, 2007||Italy 0 - France 0|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Sep 6, 2006||France 3 - Italy 1|
|World Cup Qualification 2006 (WC)||Jul 9, 2006||Italy 6 - France 4|
|Nov 18, 2013||Italy 2 - Nigeria 2||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||Italy 1 - Germany 1||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Italy 2 - Armenia 2||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||Denmark 2 - Italy 2||WCQ|
|Sep 10, 2013||Italy 2 - Czech Rep. 1||WCQ|
|14||Stephan El Shaarawy||Midfielder|
|Stephan El Shaarawy|