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Mancini rings the changes as he brings in eight new faces in starting XI

Roberto Mancini has kept his promise of making wholesale changes in Italy’s starting formation for their match against Malta at the National Stadium on Sunday night.

Italy must beat Malta on Sunday night to keep alive their hopes of a top-two finish that would guarantee them a place in the European Championship finals that will be played in Germany next year.

The Italy coach has made no less than eight changes to his starting formation keeping just three players that started in the team’s 2-1 defeat to England at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples last week.

Gianluigi Donnarumma kept his place but there were three changes in the team’s four-man defence as Leonardo Spinazzola, Francesco Acerbi and Rafael Toloi were all dropped with their place going to Alessio Romagnoli, Emerson Palmieri and Giorgio Scalvini.

In midfield Sandro Tonali, Bryan Cristante and Matteo Pessina were given the nod to start in a newly-formed three-man midfield with Marco Verratti, Jorginho and the injured Nicolo Barella making way.

Upfront, Argentine striker Mateo Retegui kept his place upfront and was flanked by  Wilfried Gnonto and Matteo Politano who were preferred to Luigi Pellegrini and Domenico Berardi.

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