Prandelli to experiment against San Marino

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will experiment with his side in Friday night's friendly with San Marino in Bologna.

Cesare Prandelli, Italy

The Azzurri face the minnows and then the Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifier a week later before heading to Brazil for the Confederations Cup.

Friday's result is not in doubt against a team ranked joint 207th and last by FIFA, but Prandelli is keen to find out some more about his squad.

The coach said on the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) website: "We wanted this game because our programme has consisted of four days of work with double training sessions and I needed a test to try new players and see if they can fit in at a tactical level quickly for the Confederations Cup."

Italy face Brazil, Japan and first Mexico in their group at the Confederations Cup, with their opening game on June 16, but Prandelli wants the immediate focus to remain on preparing for the Czech Republic game.

"Up to June 7, I want to speak about the Czech Republic, for me that is the most important game. Now talk about the Confederations Cup may be just an annoyance," added Prandelli, who will name his squad for the tournament on June 3.

He has some injury doubts for Friday's game, but AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who was on Thursday ruled out with back pain, could be fit to play after all.

Prandelli said: "Mario has trained well today [Thursday], some time with the ball, and I think that he may be available. (Stephan) El Shaarawy, (Riccardo) Montolivo and (Andrea) Barzagli, however, will not be in the game.

The Azzurri go into the busy summer riding high in their World Cup qualifying group. They sit three points clear at the top of Group B with a game in hand over second-placed Bulgaria. The Czechs are two points further back in third.

Friday's match has being used to further the fight against racism, with the captains of both teams to due read out statements before kick-off.

FIGC director general Antonello Valentini said: "We take this opportunity to ask for a civil commitment on the part of all the newspapers, radio and television, because our game will be dedicated to the fight against racism.

"Present will be the minister for integration Kyenge Cecile, who accepted our invitation."



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