Balotelli expected to play integral role in ‘home’ friendly.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has confirmed his starting line-up for the friendly with Germany at San Siro on Friday night, with Giuseppe Rossi missing out.
The Azzurri are in action in Italy on Friday before making the trip to London for their second friendly of the international break against Nigeria at Craven Cottage on Monday.
However, Rossi will be absent from the first of the double header, after he failed to recover from tonsillitis which he has been suffering from for the past week.
The Fiorentina ace has been in superb form so far this season and appears to be a certainty to be heading for Brazil next summer, but Prandelli will undoubtedly be disappointed that he is unable to field him with Mario Balotelli on a more regular basis in the build-up.
Nevertheless, the AC Milan striker will be paired with Southampton’s Pablo Osvaldo, with the Rossoneri captain Riccardo Montolivo set to be deployed in the trequartista role.
There is also a comeback from PSG midfielder Thiago Motta who will anchor the midfield alongside Juventus duo Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio.
“We’re going to try and be open against the Germans,” Prandelli told reporters, as quoted by Football Italia.
“We’ve prepared well and I’m sure we’re in for a good game.”
Gianluigi Buffon is set to continue between the posts to receive his 138th cap, but there was speculation this week suggesting that Prandelli will look to talk Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctiis out of retirement to act as back-up next summer.
The former Napoli stopper has been an integral part of the capital club’s success so far this season as they have conceded just three goals in 12 games en route to topping the table.
Italy XI to face Germany: Buffon; Abate, Criscito, Barzagli, Bonucci; Pirlo, Marchisio, Thiago Motta; Montolivo; Balotelli, Osvaldo.