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Projected Formations: Italy v. Ukraine

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With a shortage of strikers, Mancini will likely employ a False 9.

Italy Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Italy begins its international window on Wednesday with a friendly at the Luigi Ferraris of Genoa against Ukraine. However, before il Nazionale even got their training kick-started, Milan’s Patrick Cutrone and Torino’s Simone Zaza were already ruled out with injury issues. These unexpected absences, along with the absences of Nice’s Mario Balotelli and Torino’s Andrea Belotti for what Mancini called “tactical reasons” has left the squad shorthanded in attack. Only Lazio’s Ciro Immobile and Udinese’s Kevin Lasagna, a late addition, remain at striker.

With injuries in mind, Roberto Mancini looks prepared to experiment a bit against the side coached by former Milan great Andriy Shevchenko. According to various reports around the peninsula, Mancini will opt to play with a False 9 rather than run out a conventional striker like Immobile or Lasagna. Juve’s Federico Bernardeschi is expected to fill the False 9 role. He’ll be flanked by Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne and Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa to round out the attacking trident.

In the midfield, PSG’s Marco Verratti returns after missing the first two Nations League matches last month. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Jorginho will retain his place in the midfield three. Rounding out the mid will be Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella. Jorginho and Verratti will be expected to supply quality service to the attack while Barella will be looked upon to win back possession.

Along the back, Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma will start between the pipes, while Juve duo Leo Bonucci and Giorgio Chielli will marshal the center of the defense. Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi returns to right back, while Fiorentina’s Cristiano Biraghi should start on the left. However, there is a chance that Genoa captain Domenico Criscito could start in his “home city” in place of Biraghi.

Ukraine (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Karavaev, Burda, Rakitskiy, Matvienko; Stepanenko, Malinowski; Yarmolenko, Marlos, Konoplyanka; Yaremchuk.