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Prandelli urges caution in Bulgaria

4 September 2012 03:22

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has urged caution ahead of their tricky opener to their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign in Bulgaria on Friday.

Bulgaria - ranked 94th in the world - will go into the game as massive underdogs, having not qualified for a major tournament since the 2004 European Championships.

The two sides also met in qualification for the 2010 World Cup, with Italy unable to break down the Bulgarian defence in a 0-0 draw in Sofia.

And Prandelli is keen not to fall into the same trap.

"I'm focused on Friday's match. I'm worried because we're going to find a renewed team with a strong mentality and we'll be playing in a difficult stadium," he said.

"In addition to this, they believe they will be playing against a very strong team. That's why I believe we may have to face many difficulties on Friday and that's why I'm only focused on Friday's match. Once we qualify, we can think about future plans."

Giampaolo Pazzini has been recalled to the Italy squad after a hat-trick for AC Milan in Serie A, while Roma's Pablo Osvaldo has also been brought into the team with Manchester City star Mario Balotelli missing the match to undergo eye surgery.

Prandelli said the final make-up of his team is still undecided.

"We only have very few days to train the team and it is impossible to find the right balance in two days," he said.

"As we have seen in the European Championship, we could possibly go with four players at the back if we work daily, but right now I can't say we'll be playing with four defenders.

"First I want to check with the players and try a defence with three players, since the players are more used to it.

"We have started this season trying to look at how we can alter things positionally on the pitch, given the problem posed by Balotelli.

"We have decided to cap Pazzini and Osvaldo to cope with this issue and also to let everyone know that there is place for players who not only play well, but can also consistently perform."

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