Italy’s world cup winning coach Marcelo Lippi has ruled out the inclusion of Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli in the Azzurri’s squad for the summer world cup to be held in South Africa stating that the teenager should instead concentrate on winning with U-21 side.
Lippi has however left the door open for retired international defender Alessandro Nesta. Nesta retired from the National team after Italy’s 2006 world cup triumph in Germany. Lippi will have a momentous task ahead of him tonight when his team hosts the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
This friendly will be the last high profile game Italy will play before traveling to South Africa. The Azzurri have not been themselves ever since they won the World cup. Last year’s Confederations cup provided a glimpse of their declining standards. Italy’s last game of such magnitude was against Brazil in the group stages of the same tournament and they suffered an embarrassing 3-1 defeat.
Lippi will be looking to erase the memories of his team’s poor performance in that tournament when they play Cameroon in Monaco’s Stade Louis II stadium in Monte Carlo.
Lippi will play with a 4-4-2 line up that will include: Bonera, Cannavaro, Chiellini and Chriscito in defense. while the midfield will have Gattuso, Pirlo, De Rossi and Marchisio. His attack wil be led by in form striker Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella.
Cameroon’s squad will be drawn from players that were largely used in the Africa Cup of Nations. Although ineffective then, Coach Paul Le Guen will hope that his troops would have learned from their mistakes. Le Guen will counter the tactics of his opposite number by employing a 3-5-2 formation with Kameni between the posts while Bassong, Bedimo and N’koulou will be in defense. His midfield will have Emana, Enoh, Makoun, Song and Mandjeck. Their forward line will have Eto’o and Webo.
Although there are no trophies to be won tonight, both these teams will want to win this match and in the process improve their world rankings.
Photo credit: 20192