Italy to revert to four-man defence against Malta

The Azzurri kicked off the road to Brazil with a disappointing 2-2 draw at Bulgaria last Friday, prompting their coach to scrap his experimental 3-5-2 formation for the time being
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has revealed that he will employ a four-man backline for the visit of Malta on Tuesday, as he looks to ignite his country's World Cup 2014 qualification campaign.

The Azzurri finished runners-up at Euro 2012 earlier in the summer, but failed to carry their momentum over into Friday's 2-2 draw with Bulgaria, with an experimental 3-5-2 formation the target of much criticism.

The disappointing nature of the result has moved their coach to stick with his tried-and-tested formula against the minnows, and he hopes their familiarity with the system will prove decisive in Modena.

"We will return to a four-man defence," Prandelli told reporters. "Our opponents will play with one striker, so we have to find our rhythm quickly.

"Perhaps we worked too hard in our preparation for the match against Bulgaria and my mistake was not rectifying the situation.

"[On Tuesday], however, we will try to hit our stride and, more importantly, function compactly."

Kick-off between the Mediterranean rivals is scheduled for 20:45CET.