Pirlo set for Azzurri start
By Nadia Carminati
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni has hinted that Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo is the leading contender to replace the suspended Francesco Totti.
The Roma favourite was handed a three-match ban for spitting in Italy's stalemate with Denmark, in an incident that has now handed Pirlo an unexpected opportunity.
"Pirlo as Totti's substitute?," Trapattoni told RAI.
"He played in that role in a recent friendly, when he entered to replace Francesco.
"Pirlo played 30 minutes in a good way in that position."
The other potential replacement for Totti is club team-mate Antonio Cassano but it is not expected that Trapattoni will risk employing both him and Alessandro Del Piero in the same midfield.
It is also expected that Gennaro Gattuso will replace Cristiano Zanetti in Italy's midfield.