Balotelli to start for Italy against Germany

The striker will be hoping to repeat his exploits from the Euro 2012 semi-final when two of Europe’s biggest nations meet on Friday

Mario Balotelli will start for Italy against Germany in Friday night’s high-profile international friendly at San Siro.

The striker, who has been struggling for form at club level with AC Milan, will be hoping to torment the Germans again having scored twice to seal victory when the two teams last met in the last four of Euro 2012.

Balotelli will start in attack alongside Southampton’s Dani Osvaldo, with in-form Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi ruled out of the game with tonsillitis.

The starting side, likely to be fielded in a 4-3-1-2 formation, has been confirmed by coach Cesare Prandelli and includes five Juventus players and three from Milan.

After announcing his team, Prandelli said his attacking selection showed his charges were ready to have a go against Joachim Low’s visitors.

“We are going to try and be open. Preparations for the game have gone well and I am sure we are in for a good contest,” he said.

“I am certain they are going to come here and do everything to win, so we have to make sure we counter that.

“Balotelli is a player who knows that he is watched closely in every game he plays – but he has to deal with that himself.

“We all know he is a player that is feared by defences all over the world.”

Italy are hoping to continue a strong run of results against Germany, having been undefeated in the fixture since June 1995 – a run of six matches.

Italy team in full: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Criscito; Thiago Motta, Pirlo, Marchisio; Montolivo; Balotelli, Osvaldo.

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