Inter Milan pair Antonio Candreva and Eder could be rested when Italy host Germany on Tuesday for a glamour friendly that coach Gian Piero Ventura says will provide a telling indicator of where his side are at.
Italy play the world champions at Milan’s San Siro stadium three days after a 4-0 rout of Liechtenstein left the Azzurri joint top of World Cup qualifying Group G with Spain after four games.
Only top spot guarantees entry to Russia 2018, with Israel a point behind in third.
The group could be decided by Italy’s visit to Spain next September and Ventura, who replaced Antonio Conte following Italy’s march to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, already has one eye on that showdown.
He has added several exciting young players to a squad that was aging under Conte, including Torino striker Andrea Belotti and AC Milan defender Alessandro Romagnoli.
Belotti has seized his chance, hitting a brace against Liechtenstein, a month after scoring his first goal for Italy on his full debut against Macedonia.
“Belotti will play,” Ventura told media at AC Milan’s training complex on Monday.
“But we have to check the condition of a few other players, like Eder and Antonio (Candreva).”
Eder suffered a knock in the win over Liechtenstein.
“We’ll be making a few changes with respect to the Liechtenstein game,” added Ventura, who is also set to play with his formation.
Italy deployed a 4-2-4 formation in Vaduz but Ventura knows that Germany will be a completely different proposition.
“Playing Germany should give us an indication of where we’re at,” he said.
“We’re up against the world champions and although they’ve added some younger players to their squad, they have been part of the national set-up for eight to 10 years.
“We’ll have to show character, but we’ll see how things go. It would have been nice to have one or two more days to prepare for it. Twenty-four hours isn’t enough.
“We’ll go out and give it everything we have, even though in Italy the result always counts. It’s a friendly, but it’s not a game amongst friends.” – Agence France-Presse