Under-fire Donadoni shakes up Azzurri

ITALY coach Roberto Donadoni has announced he will make at least three changes to his starting line-up for Friday’s Group C showdown against Romania in Zurich.

The world champions are under pressure to clinch a victory after their shock 3-0 defeat to Holland in their opening game.

The result was Donadoni’s worst since taking over the national team two years ago, and has left his future at the helm in jeopardy, despite only recently signing a new two-year contract extension.

“I will make three or four changes,” said Donadoni.

“Among those changes, Alessandro Del Piero and (defender) Giorgio Chiellini will be included.”

Del Piero came on as a second-half substitute against Holland and gave the team more fluidity in attack. The Juventus captain was last season’s leading scorer in Serie A with 21 goals, equalling his previous best tally.

The 33-year-old played a vital role in Italy’s World Cup triumph in Germany two years ago and Donadoni is hoping the experienced forward will make the difference against Romania.

Roma midfielders Simone Perrotta and Daniele De Rossi are also set to be included in the starting XI, having been relegated to the bench against Holland.

“Romania are in good form,” Donadoni continued. “But we are ready.

“Nothing is lost. We have two games to play and we aim to make amends for our defeat against Holland.”

Romania coach Victor Piturca knows his team face a battle in Zurich.

The Italians have the upper hand, with Romania searching for their first win over the Azzurri for 19 years.

“Italy are world champions and we are aware that we face a difficult game,” said Piturca.

“We will point on team spirit. Our aim is to take at least a point against Italy, a result which would keep alive our hopes of advancing to the next round.

“We are very well organised and my players are really determined.”

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