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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Italy v Czech Republic

By Football News



Italy can seal FIFA World Cup qualification against Czech Republic providing they match or better Bulgaria's result against Malta.

Cesare Prandelli's side put themselves on the verge of qualification with a 1-0 win over Bulgaria in Palermo on Friday, and they could become the first European nation to qualify for Brazil 2014 on Tuesday.

Alberto Gilardino's goal moved them seven points clear at the top of Group B, but the national coach warned his side that they must do better if they are to win in Turin.

"We are one step away from the World Cup in Brazil," he said. "We had to change things round, lost out in terms of stamina and therefore suffered.

"We had particular trouble on corners and counter-attacks. We certainly can and must do better."

Italy will be hoping to build on their record of 13 goals during this qualifying campaign, and they will fancy their chances against a Czech Republic side that conceded twice against Armenia.

Those two Armenian goals saw Michel Bilek's side fall to a costly 2-1 defeat that could ruin their chances of reaching the World Cup.

With Bulgaria losing, the Czech's missed their chance to move into second place and are now in a four-way fight to reach the play-offs.

The two sides have met five times and it is the visitors who have the better record.

Czech Republic have won twice, while there illustrious opponents have only tasted one victory.

In their first meeting in the group the game ended goalless, something that neither side will really want in Tuesday's clash.

Prandelli has injury problems ahead of the game, Luca Antonelli (ankle) and Ignazio Abate (groin) have both been ruled out of the match, while Lorenzo Insigne is a doubt.

Manuel Pasqual and Lorenzo De Silvestri have been called up to replace the injured pair, while Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Riccardo Montolivo are also available after serving their bans.