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Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Prandelli admits to Italy doubts

ESPN staff

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has admitted his squad selection is plagued with 'doubts' ahead of the World Cup qualification match against Malta.

Prandelli is yet settle on his best starting XI and is refusing to reveal his line-up until just before kick-off.

"I won't tell you the side," Prandelli said. "I have a doubt between Emanuele Giaccherini and Alessio Cerci and I won't decide until tomorrow, 30 minutes until kick-off.

"(And) I'm convinced that we are not totally ready to play with three forwards.

"We've called up Cerci and Lazio's Antonio Candreva who can both play on the right of the trident. Cerci is more of an attacker, Candreva more of a midfielder. But the doubt remains between Cerci and Giaccherini.

"Alessandro Diamanti? He's having an important season at Bologna, but there are precise roles in the national team, especially when it comes to constructing play.

"I've spoken to him, he likes to start on the right and cut in centrally, but we'll look at other opportunities for now. Cerci is more of an attacker than he is.

"I want to see and understand how our opponents will line up."

However, one change that is expected will be the return of Stephan El Shaarawy, set to resume his partnership with club-mate Mario Balotelli.

"I'm convinced that El Shaarawy can play well in a 4-3-3 or with a four-man midfield," Prandelli said.

"I'm also convinced that he and Mario Balotelli, by playing game after game, can do some really interesting things."

Italy lead Group B only by the solitary point from Bulgaria with only the top side gaining an automatic spot in Brazil 2014.

But 55-year-old is not concerned with the closeness of the group, believing Italy's safe passage to next year's showpiece event will be secured if they continue to build on their recent run of performances, starting with minnows Malta.

"Would I be happy with a 1-0?" Prandelli said. "It depends on how we go about securing it. The points are what matter right now. But I'm convinced that you get results by playing well.

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

"I hope we create as many chances as we did against Brazil.

"To get six points from our next two games - Malta and the Czech Republic - would be of fundamental importance in terms of qualification."

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