Italy likely to revamp team against Romania

ZURICH Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:07am BST

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ZURICH (Reuters) - World champions Italy, smarting from the 3-0 drubbing by Netherlands, are likely to overhaul their team and maybe their formation for Friday's Euro 2008 match against Romania.

Another defeat in Zurich would spell elimination and almost certainly lead to coach Roberto Donadoni's departure.

The defeat in their Group C opener on Monday means all areas of the team are under review.

Alessandro Del Piero, who has not started for Italy since September, may play after doing well as a substitute while fellow forward Antonio Cassano is in contention after he also came on in Berne.

The inclusion of either probably requires a shift in formation from 4-3-3 to 4-3-2-1 but main striker Luca Toni sounded like he wanted the pair to start.

"Playing with Antonio and Alessandro we are more attacking, it is normal they create a lot," Toni told a news conference.

"With the introduction of Antonio and Alessandro we improved but the boss must make his choice. The problem is even with Cassano and Del Piero on the field we didn't score."

Left back Fabio Grosso, who shone when he came off the bench against the Dutch, is expected to play while defender Giorgio Chiellini and midfielder Daniele De Rossi could also start.

Romania, who drew 0-0 with France on Monday, think Italy will attack from the start.

DIFFERENT APPROACH

"Hopefully they will leave some gaps at the back for us to exploit. We expect a different approach to the French," said captain Cristian Chivu.

Romania's game-plan will be much the same as against France with the focus on defence rather than goals.

"We will defend, defend, defend. Our plan is not to get beaten," said striker Adrian Mutu.

The forward, deeply affected by the recent death of his grandmother, hopes to improve on his poor display against France.

"I hope you will see the real Mutu against Italy," he said.

Forward Daniel Niculae may make way for Ciprian Marica if the latter recovers from a head injury sustained in training on Tuesday. Paul Codrea may also replace Razvan Cocis in midfield.

Political tensions could add spice to the game but soccer authorities have said they expect no trouble in Zurich.

More than 500,000 Romanians are estimated to live in Italy, a number which Rome says jumped following Romania's entry to the European Union last year. Many are Roma nomads who live in shantytowns and are often blamed for violent crimes.

Romania has warned an Italian crackdown on immigrants could cause xenophobia, with Romanians in Italy saying they are scared to watch the match in public.

Superstitious types have noted the game takes place on Friday the 13th and is the 13th match of the 13th European Championship. However, the unlucky number in Italy is 17.

(additional reporting by Darren Ennis in St Gallen)

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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