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Nov 14, 2012

Prandelli gives young stars their chance

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has opted to rest Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo for Wednesday's friendly with France as he seeks to test the country's young stars.

Prandelli will adopt a 4-3-3 formation for the match, with Salvatore Sirigu in goal behind a defence of Christian Maggio, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Balzaretti. Riccardo Montolivo, Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio comprise the midfield while Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy and Antonio Candreva form the attack.

Prandelli explained: "El Shaarawy will play in the position he already uses at Milan, Balotelli will be the centre-forward and Candreva plays on the right.

"I will ask the attacking players to flood the area and seek depth in going for the goal. El Shaarawy and Antonio Candreva have very attacking characteristics and the midfield must work to support them."

Chiellini said it would be strange to line up without Juventus team-mates Buffon and Pirlo but backed the youngsters to prove their quality.

The 28-year-old said: "Without Buffon and Pirlo we are losing two reference points, both for Juventus and the Nazionale. It'll be weird without them, but tomorrow can be a great stage to test young talents like Sirigu, Verratti and El Shaarawy.

"We need to find a good result. We have improved a great deal, but still need that step up in quality."

France boss Didier Deschamps, meanwhile, feels the trip to Parma will be a valuable test for his team.

"It is a friendly, but the result is always important," Deschamps said. "When you take on a team like Italy, who are one of the best in the world, there are always special expectations and it requires a particular level of concentration. Italy can represent an example to be followed."

Deschamps spent time as a player and a coach in Italy with Juventus and he added: "I was happy in Turin, both professionally and personally. I have only positive memories.

"I'm happy to be back in Italy, even if I had hoped this game would be played in Turin. It will be wonderful to meet up with players who I knew and had the pleasure to train."

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