After the narrow defeat to Armenia last Friday, Malta will be aiming for a good performance in Modena as the boys in red take on Italy at the Stadio Alberto Braglia on Tuesday, kick-off at 20:45.
On Friday, the team’s performance was quite disappointing as although the team defended well, they hardly had any shot at goal throughout the ninety minutes.
Speaking on Monday, Ghedin admitted his disappointment that Malta did not create more scoring chances and hopes the team improves in this aspect on Tuesday. However he is fully aware of the difficult task Malta has, considering that the Italians are chasing a comfortable win following the disappointing 2-2 draw in Sofia on Friday.
Ghedin made no changes to the eighteen-man squad but could opt to make one or two changes from the team which lost narrowly to Armenia. This includes the possibility of Jonathan Caruana returning in the heart of defence and a change in midfield.
This will be the third game for Malta on Italian soil. Despite good performances at Ta’ Qali in the home matches, resulting in a 0-2 defeat in December 1986 and a narrow 1-2 loss in December 1992, Malta suffed heavy defeats away from home. In January 1987, in the EURO 98 qualifiers, Malta lost 5-0 in Bergamo while in March 1993, Malta suffered a 6-1 defeat in Palermo in 1994 World Cup qualifiers.
Addressing the media on Monday, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has confirmed the Azzurri will revert to a 4-3-1-2 system following the 2-2 draw in Sofia where he adopted the 3-5-2.
He said that considering the fact that Malta will be playing with one striker, it was pointless to play with three central defenders.
Cesare Prandelli is not underestimating Malta, saying that it was not easy to score lots of goals. He said Malta was a balanced team which have beend given an identity by Pietro Ghedin. He singled out Michael Mifsud as an interesting striker. The Italian coach said the most important thing was to rediscover the spirit and the way they play. He said that against Bulgaria, he could have prepared the game in a different manner, working less hard considering that it is very early in the season.
Prandelli said players have to learn from this game, not trying to overdo it, trying to decide the match individually.
“I want to see a possession game with lots of short passing,” said Prandelli who praised the people of Modena, saying that they were wonderful and wished Italy could repeat the same performance they showed against Estonia last year, also in Modena.
He will be making five changes from the team which drew with Bulgaria as he includes Cassani, Peluso, Nocerino, Diamanti and Destro and will start with Buffon as goalkeeper, Barzagli and Bonucci as central defenders with Cassani and debutante Peluso on the flanks, Nocerino, Pirlo and Marchisio in midfield, Diamanti as attacking midfielder and Destro and Osvaldo in attack.
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