Azzurri XI, Roberto Donadoni Must Clean House

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Azzurri XI, Roberto Donadoni Must Clean House

To say that Italy's opening game at EURO 2008 was a disappointment would be an understatement. Now, Azzurri Coach Roberto Donadoni is under pressure, rightfully so, to make changes to the starting squad when the team faces Romania on Friday.

Reports in Italy have suggested up to five changes could be made by Donadoni. Some may be more likely than others, and it must be said that changing almost half of the starting side might be the best thing to get the Azzurri going.

The most likely choice will be Roma midfleider Daniele De Rossi stepping in for either Massimo Ambrosini or Gennaro Gattuso. Many felt like De Rossi was a lock to start against the Dutch, but Donadoni instead went with an all Milan midfield.

Another logical choice will be inserting Fabio Grosso on the left side of the defense, with Gianluca Zambrotta sliding over to his more natural right back position. Grosso was one of Italy's best players after coming on for Marco Materazzi in the 54th minute, making numerous runs down the flank and setting up quality scoring chances.

So with Zambrotta likely to slide over to the right, who will then occupy the center of the defense? It seems likely that Juvetus defender Giogio Chiellini will get his shot in the middle against the Romanians. The only problem is, who will be paired with the 23-year-old? Will Christian Panucci slide over into the middle like he did when Grosso came on or will Andrea Barzagli keep his spot in the starting side?

And with the Azzurri held scoreless against the Dutch, there will also be changes up front in the attack. All signs point to yes. It also depends on whether Donadoni sticks with his preferred 4-3-3 formation or if he goes with a 4-3-1-2. If indeed it is the latter, look for either Antonio Cassano or Alessandro Del Piero to step in alongside Luca Toni, with the other playing just behind the attack.

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