Italy attack-minded for Malta match

Fresh off a rousing comeback against Brazil in a friendly, Cesare Prandelli’s Italy side face a trip to Malta on Tuesday as they look to extend their lead over Bulgaria in Group B and move one step closer to World Cup qualification.



Prandelli will be hoping Italy carry that second half form into the match at the Ta’Qali National Stadium, especially given that Pietro Ghedin’s men have yet to win in this qualification campaign and have only scored one goal in the four matches they have played.



The Azzurri found themselves two goals down at half time against the South Americans on Thursday, but thanks to an inspirational Mario Balotelli second half performance, which included a wonderful 30-yard strike, they finished the match level at 2-2.



As expected, Balotelli will start the match and could be joined by his AC Milan teammate Stephan El Shaarawy, given Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo is suspended.



Torino’s Alessio Cerci, who made his international debut against the Brazilians, is also favoured to line up alongside the Rossoneri frontmen in a three-pronged attack, following an accomplished performance on Thursday.



Despite Daniele De Rossi also being suspended, Prandelli can welcome back Claudio Marchisio who has recovered from a minor knock and is expected to be a direct replacement for the Roman.



Ignazio Abate is another who was injured for the Brazil encounter but is fit enough to return and will vie with Christian Maggio for the right back slot.



Mattia De Sciglio is expected to keep his place at left-back despite making a shaky debut in the game against Brazil.



That would mean Italy fielding a line-up of five players from both AC Milan, and Juventus, with Cerci being the sole outsider.



Malta coach Ghedin is expected to make changes to his side following their crushing 6-0 defeat to Bulgaria on Friday evening.



Both Ryan Camilleri and Rowen Muscat, who came on as substitutes in that match, will be hoping to make it into the first eleven in place of Roderick Briffa and Paul Fenech, the men they replaced.



While the island nation will be looking to the country’s all time leading goalscorer Michael Mifsud for inspiration, the prospects are dim, as in five previous meetings between the two sides Malta have only scored twice, and conceded 17 goals.

Read more :
  • Kaia Kanepi forced out of Olympics
    Estonia's Kaia Kanepi has withdrawn from the Olympic Games with a heel injury. The 27-year-old had expected to recover in time to represent her country at the Games, with the tennis taking...
  • Blatter slams Euro 2020 format over 13 countries
    FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised the proposed format set to be used at Euro 2020 and says the scattering of the tournament over 13 countries will not make it a true European champ...
  • PH pugs to see action in Asian Elite Championship
    The road to the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal continues as a young, five-man Philippine boxing team leaves on Sunday to take part in the Asian Elite Championships July 1 to 9 in A...
  • Wozniacki hits out at on-court grunting
    Caroline Wozniacki has claimed that female tennis players scream loudly during tennis matches "on purpose". The 21-year-old believes that a number of female competitors grunt in order to g...
  • Xavi ‘will not be forced to play’, says Del Bosque
    Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque on Monday said that Xavi Hernandez will only play against France in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier if he feels ready to do so. The Barcelona midfielder, such ...
  • Cooper race announces winners
    The 3rd Annual Mini-Cooper Racing Event was held recently at the Batangas Racing Circuit. This year’s race, “Petronas Philippines Motorsports championships – Philminiracers Classic Mini Rac...
  • Central African football stars keen to return home
    Central African Republic national team stars in South Africa for a World Cup qualifier are keen to return home after the weekend takover of capital city Bangui by rebels. Team manager Will...
  • Europa League: Tottenham survive Inter scare as Torres saves Chelsea
    Tottenham suffered a fright before sneaking past Inter Milan on Thursday to reach the Europa League quarter-finals as they, Chelsea and Newcastle restored national pride following England's...