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Andrea Pirlo is the metronome by which the rest of the Italian team keeps time. Sitting deep in the center of midfield, his pinpoint passes get through when it seems impossible that they'll do so, and his skill with the long ball is second to none in the world.
Pirlo's mastery has not dwindled despite his advanced (for international competition) age, and playing the position he plays, it's not impossible to see him playing at this level for both club and country for another two or three seasons yet.
Still, the general consensus is that the World Cup will be his last hurrah on the international stage, and he'll want to make it special.
Look for the Italians to keep more of possession than they did last month and give Pirlo the time on the ball he needs and the room with which to use it. If he's in-form, he can pick apart even the greatest defenses.
Balotelli has been absolutely on fire since returning to Italy after his two-and-a-half year sojourn in England. United at last with the team he cheered for as a boy, AC Milan, Balotelli has scored seven times in six games, including a pair of braces.
For years, Italy's biggest problem has been the lack of a true cutting edge up front, and it's easy to tell how different the attack looks with an in-form Balotelli up front.
Super Mario was somewhat frustrated in last month's friendly, mostly because his teammates were barely able to hold on to possession long enough to give him any decent service. He was withdrawn midway through the second half shortly after kicking the ball into the advertising boards, but should fare better in this slate of matches.
Easily one of the most improved players in the world over the last two years, Leo Bonucci has gone from scapegoat for Juventus' disastrous 2010-11 season to one of the top 15 or 20 center-backs in the game.
Bonucci is now a powerful force in defense and is easily the best ball-handling center-back in the world, and he will prove crucial for the Azzurri in the coming slate of internationals.
His Juventus teammate Giorgio Chiellini is suffering from an ankle injury he sustained against Bologna at the weekend, and yesterday the Italian Federation (FIGC) confirmed that the defensive stalwart has left the squad to recover back in Turin.
That leaves Bonucci to partner with his other club mate, Andrea Barzagli, in the center of Prandelli's defense.
Losing a player like Chiellini would be devastating to a normal team, but having those two in central defense still puts Prandelli in a position every international manager on the planet would envy.
What Bonucci now has to prove is that he's up to the task.