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How Italy could line up against Austria

How Italy could line up against Austria
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Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at how Italy could line up for Saturday's Euro 2020 last-16 clash with Austria.

Group A winners Italy will meet Alpine neighbours Austria in the last 16 of Euro 2020 on Saturday evening, with a handful of pressing selection issues to resolve.

Though head coach Roberto Mancini has managed to maintain his team's 11-match run without conceding a goal throughout the first three games, his defensive plans are once more likely to be disrupted by injury.

Inspirational captain Giorgio Chiellini was forced to train separately from the rest of the squad for much of the week, so may not be risked at Wembley. The Juventus stalwart missed the 1-0 win over Wales, having limped off early in the victory over Switzerland with a muscular problem.

Also an absentee at Stadio Olimpico, regular right-back Alessandro Florenzi has since been confined to rehab in the gym and will almost certainly miss out. Mancini will therefore field Napoli's Giovanni Di Lorenzo ahead of Rafael Toloi - who started in a much-changed XI last time out - on the right of the Azzurri back four.

In the centre, meanwhile, Inter youngster Alessandro Bastoni will compete with the experienced Francesco Acerbi to partner Leonardo Bonucci, should Chiellini's absence be confirmed.

There will also be a conundrum of a different kind to resolve in midfield, as PSG playmaker Marco Verratti finally returned from a troublesome knee injury last weekend, but Manuel Locatelli scored twice while starring in the first two group fixtures. It seems certain that only one will start in the engine room, with both Nicolo Barella and recent Champions League-winner Jorginho already guaranteed their berths.

Up front, Federico Chiesa, Andrea Belotti and Federico Bernardeschi should make way for the familiar attacking trio of Ciro Immobile, Domenico Berardi and Lorenzo Insigne, though Chiesa impressed against Wales and will be introduced at some point in the second half on Saturday.

Atalanta midfielder Matteo Pessina is another candidate to help change the game if the Austrian defence proves difficult to unlock, after he scored the winner with a deft flick last weekend.

Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Bonucci, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne

> Click here to see how Austria could line up for Saturday's last-16 clash

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Italy's Domenico Berardi celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 25, 2021
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United StatesUnited States25312379
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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