Italy's preparation for this summer's World Cup could have gone a lot more smoothly, with Cesare Prandelli's side having failed to claim a win in their last six matches.
However, their warm-up schedule comes to a promising end on Wednesday, where the Azzurri will play host to Luxembourg in what will be their last fixture before lacing up against England in their World Cup opener on June 14.
The risk factor may be low against minnow opposition, but Italy will nonetheless be eager to claim a boost in morale before making their way to Brazil, with viewing information and preview of the Luxembourg fixture detailed ahead.
Date: Wednesday, June 4
Time: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: beIN Sports Play (U.S., subscription required)
TV Info: beIN Sports 3 (U.S.)
Players To Watch
Italy: Ciro Immobile
Having just officially completed his move to Borussia Dortmund, Ciro Immobile will undoubtedly be giddy with the opportunity to showcase his talents to his new employers and he could start for the second successive fixture on Wednesday.
ESPN FC confirmed the transfer on Monday:
Immobile didn't manage to make an impact in the 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland over the weekend, but it would be intriguing to see if the boost in morale has any effect on the forward's performance in midweek.
In their last outing, Luxembourg went with the inexperienced centre-back partnership of Chris Philipps and Maxime Chanot, who boast barely 20 caps between them and a combined age of 44.
Should the same two defenders start in central defence this time around, Immobile can hope to pounce and do the same kind of damage that Belgium inflicted in their 5-1 victory over the same opposition in May.
Luxembourg: Aurelien Joachim
Luxembourg have netted just two goals in their last five matches, the most recent of which was grabbed by Waalwijk striker Aurelien Joachim, whom one may well call the highest-profile player in their squad.
The Eredivisie figure bears on his shoulders an extremely heavy burden in holding up his team's offensive line close to single-handedly, and breaking down this Azzurri defence will be tough, but not impossible.
OptaJohan pointed out at the turn of the year just what a knack the 27-year-old has for drawing fouls, however, which is one aspect of his play he might look to exploit:
87 - Aurélien Joachim has won 87 fouls in 2013, at least 8 more than any other player in the Eredivisie. Victim— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) December 26, 2013
Granted, Joachim will be relying on the ammunition of his midfielders, which is far from a factory line of production, but a target is needed in tucking even the rare opportunities away, and that's where he comes into play.
Marco Verratti vs. Mario Mutsch
With Riccardo Montolivo tragically fracturing his shin, per beIN Sports' Matteo Bonetti, a greater emphasis has been placed on Prandelli's healthy central stars to perform in Brazil:
Riccardo Montolivo has successfully undergone surgery on his broken leg and will sit out next six months.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) June 2, 2014
As a result, Marco Verratti's development may be forced into an even swifter form of catalysis, with this Wednesday being his next opportunity to prove he's up to the task.
The Paris Saint-Germain prodigy is talented, but as ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson hints, his tactics and approach don't always hover on the good side of the law:
Verratti will come up against Luxembourg captain Mario Mutsch this week, who will take up his usual responsibilities in attempting to disrupt any enemy movement, breaking up Italy's forays on goal.
Just as Montolivo might have were he in the squad, Verratti's priority now may be to show a more expanded style, coming away from the limits of his profile and displaying more potential when coming forward with the ball, with Mutsch hoping to quell his threat in kind.