Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Ebrahim Sadien On March - 26 - 2013

Azzurri Focus: Maltese Workday In Order

Italy recommence their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to the National Stadium in Malta Tuesday evening. Italy are currently top of a tough Group B, one point ahead of Bulgaria and with a game in hand. The Azzurri will be looking for a fourth successive victory in the qualifying campaign.

Cesare Prandelli’s men come off the back of an inspiring 2-2 draw against Brazil in Geneva last Thursday evening. A strong second half display enabled the Italians to fight back from a two goal deficit and in the end almost snatched victory.

After an opening day draw away to Bulgaria in the qualifying campaign, Italy have raced to the top of the table with three successive victories. With a home and away trip against the Czech Republic looming and an away trip to Denmark still to be played, the Italians know only the full three points against Malta will suffice. Maestro Prandelli will be without the suspended duo of Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo as well as Giorgio Chiellini who has been forced out of the squad through injury. Claudio Marchisio should return however after missing the friendly against Brazil due to illness. The suspension to Osvaldo should also see the Nationale begin with the AC Milan duo of Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy up front. Balotelli continued his recent scoring form against Brazil and Prandelli will once again look to his form striker for goals.

Malta are currently bottom of Group B and their recent 6-0 mauling at the hands of Bulgaria reaffirm their position as minnows of world football. Under Italian coach Pietro Ghedin, they will however be hoping for an improved performance against Italy. Despite being rooted to the foot of the table with no victories in four games, Malta will somewhat be heartened by a decent showing in Italy in September 2012. The Italians required an injury time goal to secure a 2-0 victory.

The Italians have beaten Malta in all five of their previous encounters and only ever conceded two goals. Despite Prandell’s men being clear favourites heading into the encounter, the Italians traditionally do not inflict huge drubbings over smaller nations. However with the new brand of football the Azzurri has played in recent times under Prandelli, they could achieve their biggest victory margin in the qualifying campaign thus far. Certainly the performance against Brazil displayed the Italians hunger to score goals. Whether they win by two or five goals, Prandelli’s priority will be the three points so he can then turn his attention to the away match against Czech Republic in June.

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