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Home > Sports > Euro 2008 > Report

Del Piero to start against Romania

June 13, 2008 12:24 IST

Alessandro Del Piero
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Forward Alessandro Del Piero will start and captain Italy [Images] against Romania in Friday's Euro 2008 [Images] Group C clash, coach Roberto Donadoni said.

- Italy likely to revamp team

Del Piero, who has not started for Italy since September, impressed as a substitute for the world champions in Monday's 3-0 defeat by Netherlands in their first group game.

Defender Giorgio Chiellini will also come into the side against the Romanians, who drew 0-0 with France [Images] on Monday.

"Obviously, Giorgio Chiellini and Alessandro Del Piero and possibly a few others are going to feature in the lineup," Donadoni told a news conference on Thursday.

 Italy, easily outmuscled by a pacier Dutch side, will be out if they lose to Romania so the coach is ready for an overhaul.

He hinted that defender Marco Materazzi, carrying a slight calf problem, would be the man to make way for Chiellini and said there could be three, four or five changes to the lineup.


A change of formation from 4-3-3 to 4-3-2-1 is also likely given Del Piero's inclusion, although Donadoni was careful not to reveal all his plans.

 "He could play as a second striker more towards the centre," he said.

Del Piero, who has 87 caps, will take over from goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as captain under an Italian tradition where the player with the most appearances is given the armband.

The 33-year-old was dropped by Donadoni after a lacklustre showing in a goalless Euro qualifier with France in September.

However, he won a recall for the tournament after finishing Serie A top scorer for the first time with 21 Juventus goals.

Donadoni was generally calm but said his team could use anger and fear to their benefit in the 1600 GMT kickoff.

"It's important for them to feel this anger. It's a good reaction but of course anger should be managed. It should make them more focused," he said.

"I don't believe fear is necessarily a bad thing. I'm talking about healthy fear." Donadoni will almost certainly resign if Italy lose.

"I'm not disturbed by criticism. It's part of my job. On the eve of the game against Netherlands I had a good feeling. I still have this feeling," he added.

Complete Coverage: Euro 2008