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How Italy could line up against Czech Republic

How Italy could line up against Czech Republic
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Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at how Italy could line up for Friday's International Friendly with Czech Republic.

Having now finalised their squad for the European Championships, Italy have one final friendly fixture to warm up for this summer's main event.

The Azzurri conclude their preparations for the Euros on Friday, against fellow finalists Czech Republic at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, so coach Roberto Mancini will relish the opportunity to assess his resources before their tournament gets underway in Rome.

The former Manchester City manager slimmed down his provisional squad after a training camp at Italian football's Coverciano headquarters and a straightforward 7-0 win over neighbours San Marino earlier this week.

Roma's Gianluca Mancini, Atalanta midfielder Matteo Pessina and Napoli winger Matteo Politano were the men to fall at the final hurdle, as recent debutant Rafael Toloi, injured Inter man Stefano Sensi and young Sassuolo striker Giacomo Raspadori were all included.

Though Raspadori - who was part of the Azzurrini side knocked out in the Under-21 Euro quarter-finals on Monday - could make his senior debut at some stage, La Nazionale are likely to revert to a more familiar starting side on Friday, having fielded a second-string XI against the largely part-time Sammarinese.

Of their contenders to start in the upcoming finals, only Lazio centre-back Francesco Acerbi - recently out with sprained ligaments - and Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti (knee) are unlikely to feature versus the Czechs because of fitness concerns. The latter will be particularly cautious, having missed out on Euro 2016 with a groin injury.

Generally, Mancini's first name on the teamsheet, Jorginho - now a European champion at club level - has joined up with the squad after being involved in the Champions League final last Saturday. The midfield metronome is set to be rested ahead of a potentially intense period of action starting next week, however, while his Chelsea colleague Emerson Palmieri is more likely to be involved from the start, given his lack of playing time for the Premier League club.

Nonetheless, left-back remains one of the few positions Italy are lacking in an obvious starter, as Palmieri may be in pole position but has appeared only six times for Thomas Tuchel's side since the turn of the year. Roma's Leonardo Spinazzola - with eight assists from wing-back in the 2020-21 campaign - may therefore be handed a chance to nail down a place, having apparently overcome his persistent injury problems.

In goal, meanwhile, in-demand stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma is likely to return, while at the other end, Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile will go head-to-head for the opportunity to lead the line - taking over from Moise Kean, who was cut from the squad following an underwhelming performance last time out.

Italy possible starting lineup: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Bonucci, Palmieri; Cristante, Locatelli, Barella; Berardi, Belotti, Insigne

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