Venue: Stade de Geneve Date: Thursday 21st March K/o: 19:30 GMT
Italy manager Cesare Prandelli is expected to heavily rely on a Juventus and AC Milan contingent ahead of this prestige international friendly with Brazil. Centre-back Giorgio Chiellini misses out with an ankle injury, so Andrea Barzagli could partner Leonardo Bonucci and Inter's Andrea Ranocchia in front of Gianluigi Buffon in a 3-5-2 line-up. Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo is expected to anchor a five-man midfield consisting of Abate, Marchisio, Montolivo and Giaccherini, with Stephan El Shaarawy set to partner Milan teammate Mario Balotelli up front. Luiz Felipe Scolari has already named his starting XI in an adventurous 4-3-3 formation. Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar retains his place in goal with Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Filipe Luis forming the back-line. Youth player Fernando is the surprise inclusion in midfield alongside the recalled Hernanes and Chelsea's Oscar, with Hulk, Fred and Neymar making up the front three. There is no place for the recently recalled Ronaldinho but Real Madrid's Kaka has travelled and is set to feature from the bench. Lucas Moura, Paulinho and Ramires are injured.
Italy go toe-to-toe with Brazil tonight in search of their first win over the South Americans in 30 years. A Paolo Rossi hat-trick guided the Azzurri to a 3-2 win over tonight's opponents en-route to winning the 1982 World Cup, but three decades of hurt have followed since. The last time these two nations met, Brazil ran out 3-0 winners in the 2009 Confederations Cup, but now could be as good a time as any for Italy to take on Scolari's side. Brazil are currently in 18th position in the Fifa Rankings, their lowest rating since the classification's inception, and a pair of 2-1 defeats to England and Argentina preceded by a 1-1 draw with Colombia is scarcely inspired form. Italy will be further buoyed by the scintillating form of Mario Balotelli. The former Manchester City ace has banged in seven goals in six Serie A appearances since January.
Italy Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Ranocchia, Pirlo, Abate, Marchisio, Montolivo, Giaccherini, Balotelli, El Shaarawy Brazil Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Filipe, Fernando, Luiz Gustavo, Hulk, Oscar, Neymar, Fred
Joseph is an accredited football journalist and has interviewed nearly all of the current 20 Barclay's Premier League managers. He is also a correspondent for Bleacher Report and has written for Caught Offside and Give Me Football.