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Prandelli after ´continuity´ despite absences

11 November 2011 01:35

Cesare Prandelli is aiming for a sense of continuity in Italy's line-up, despite the enforced absence of his first-choice strikers.

AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano and Villarreal front man Giuseppe Rossi are out of action through illness and injury respectively as Italy prepare to face Poland in a friendly international on Friday.

Prandelli has decided to retain his regular formation, while picking Manchester City's Mario Balotelli and Inter Milan centre-forward Giampaolo Pazzini to lead the line at the Stadion Oporowska.

"For the first half I would like to continue as we have done in our last matches, in the midfield in particular, but with two different strikers, seeing (as) Cassano and Rossi won't play," Prandelli said.

"I'm sure I will change the squad in the second half and (Simone) Pepe will definitely have a chance to play too."

"I wanted to give continuity to our project."

Both Balotelli and Pazzini are considerably taller than Cassano and Rossi, and Prandelli wants his players to avoid being tempted into too many aerial attacks.

"Usually with the presence of two tall and physically strong players, the other players will tend to go for a header, while I would like to see them playing along the ground with two good strikers," he said.

"Of course, if we cross, we have the advantage that we can close the action with a header."

While undeniably talented, Balotelli is yet to score in five appearances for Italy, and Prandelli sought to ease the pressure on the 21-year-old.

"He shouldn't take on too much responsibility (to score) because he's guy with an extraordinary future ahead of him," Prandelli said.

"My judgement won't change for one match."

"I hope he will go on the pitch relaxed and determined, but I don't want him to score at any cost, because the goal will arrive."

"If he wants to score at any cost he will be too nervous and we could have some problems."

Following their trip to Poland, Italy host Uruguay at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.

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