di Fausto Cicciò
Florence, March 20 - Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini will miss Thursday's friendly against Brazil in Geneva and is doubtful for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Malta because of an ankle problem, the national soccer federation said Wednesday. In the final training session before the Azzurri left their base near Florence for Geneva on Wednesday, coach Cesare Prandelli tested a strike pairing made up of AS Roma's Pablo Osvaldo and Mario Balotelli, who has scored seven goals in six appearances since joining AC Milan in January. In the practice match he fielded Roma's Daniele De Rossi with Juve trio Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Emanuele Giaccherini in midfield. The back four was made up of Napoli's Christian Maggio, Juve duo Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci, and AC Milan full back Mattia De Sciglio. De Sciglio's Milan teammate and fellow full back Ignazio Abate was rested as a precaution because of a muscle strain. Italy lead European World Cup qualifying group B with 10 points from four games, four points more than second-placed Bulgaria.