Azzurri makes changes, but set sights on Brazil
Italy will look for another solid qualifying performance on Tuesday as they look to seal their ticket for the 2014 World Cup against the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
A win for Cesare Prandelli's side would seal Italy' trip to Brazil with two games remaining in Group B, which the Azzurri currently lead with a seven-point advantage on Bulgaria.
Italy are missing several players who featured in the 1-0 win over Bulgaria on Friday and the Czechs will be determined to produce a solid performance following a shock 2-1 defeat to Armenia which has compromised their hopes.
However Prandelli welcomes back several players who were missing in Palermo that should allow him to switch to a formation that has worked in past encounters.
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, missing Friday due to suspension, returns to the fray alongside club-mate, midfielder Riccardo Montolivo and Southampton striker Pablo (Pablo) Osvaldo.
Their return means Prandelli is likely to switch from the 4-3-2-1 used against Bulgaria with goalscorer Alberto Gilardino the lone striker, to a possible 3-5-2.
Although Italy ultimately dominated and emerged victorious in Sicily last week, the performance -- especially in the second half -- was at times disorganised and ragged.
A switch to a formation that should allow Italy to dominate the midfield and provide ball to the likely strike partnership of Balotelli and Osvaldo will allw the Azzurri to approach Tuesday in a more relaxed manner.
In defence, Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci could be shifted to the right-back position, making way for Daniele De Rossi, while Juve club-mate Giorgio Chiellini occupies the left-back role.
Prandelli has yet to name his starting XI but Bonucci sees no problem in the switch.
"It's not a problem for me. Daniele has better feet than me, he's perfect for this kind of situation," Bonucci told Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday.
The changes in defence come after Prandelli lost Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonelli to injury, both of whom limped off late in the win over Bulgaria.
Tuesday's match at the Olympic Stadium could be cause for another celebration as Gianluigi is expected to make his 136th appearance for Italy and thus equal the all-time national record held by retired Fabio Cannavaro.