The Italians opened up the qualifiers with a 2-2 draw against Bulgaria, a quite embarrassing scoreline given their pedigree and history. Though they were undoubtedly the best team on the pitch, the Bulgarians fought back and gained a favorable outcome for their side.
Fortunately for Italy, their next opponent is the small island country of Malta. The Maltans opened up their qualifying stage with a 1-0 loss to Armenia, who now lead Group B heading into the second game.
Here's everything you need to know for this international showdown.
Where: Modena, Italy
When: Tuesday, Sept.11, 2:45 p.m. ET
Watch: RAI Uno (Italy); ESPN (Australia)
Live Stream: ESPN3
Italy's Roster (via ESPN FC):
Forwards: Borini (Liverpool), Destro (Roma), Giovinco (Juventus), Insigne (Napoli), Osvaldo (Roma), Pazzini (Milan)
Malta's Roster (via Malta National Team):
Goalkeepers: Henry Bonello, Justin Haber, Andrew Hogg
Defenders: Andrei Agius, Steve Borg, Roderick Briffa, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Caruana, Luke Dimech, Clayton Failla, Alex Muscat, Manny Muscat, Joseph Zerafa
Midfielders: Edmond Agius, Shaun Bajada, Andrew Cohen, Dyson Falzon, Paul Fenech, Ryan Fenech, John Hutchinson, Bjorn Kristensen, John Mintoff, Gareth Sciberras
Forwards: Etienne Barbara, Daniel Bogdanovic, Cleaven Frendo, Michael Mifsud, Andre Schembri
If Italy's national team has any amount of inspiration and interest in this match, they should have no trouble notching four or five goals and cruising to victory.
However, it's obvious that they were far from inspired against Bulgaria, and playing a country such as Malta isn't exactly the type of showdown that pumps you up if you're an Italian footballer.
What they have to remember is that they'll be in grave danger of missing the World Cup altogether if they don't pull themselves together and win the easy games. Malta only let up one goal in their opening-round loss to Armenia, so they could frustrate the Italians by dropping back and putting all of their efforts into keeping the score blank.
When it comes down to it, Italy has mounds and mounds of talent that Malta simply won't be able to keep up with. Expect the Euro 2012 runner-up to easily notch their first win of the World Cup qualifying stage.