Prandelli mum on team for Malta qualifier

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will leave the selection of his starting line-up for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Group B’s bottom side Malta until the last minute.

Before leaving for the Mediterranean island, the Azzurri boss said he was still undecided about whether to start Torino’s Alessio Cerci, who impressed in the 2-2 friendly draw against Brazil on Thursday.

“I won’t tell you the line-up,” Prandelli said Monday at Italy’s training camp in Coverciano.

“I have doubts between Emanuele Giaccherini and Alessio Cerci and I won’t decide until closer to the start of the match tomorrow.

“However, I’m convinced that we are not completely ready to play with three forwards. I want to see and understand how our opponents line up first.

“It’s a very delicate game, we have to make sure that we don’t offer them space.

“We’ve called up Cerci and Lazio’s Antonio Candreva who can both play on the right of a three-pronged attack. Cerci is more of an attacker, Candreva more of a midfielder. But the doubt remains between Cerci and Giaccherini.”

Prandelli added that Cerci currently offered more options than Alessandro Diamanti.

“He’s having a good season at Bologna,” Prandelli said of the latter. “But there are specific roles in the national team, especially when it comes to constructing play.

“I’ve spoken to him, he prefers to start on the right and cut in centrally, but we’ll look at other opportunities for the moment. Cerci is more of a forward option than he is.”

Italy are currently one point clear of Bulgaria at the top of Group B and have played one game less, while Malta are rooted to the foot of the standings with no points from four matches played.

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