Italy vs. Brazil Review:
Goals from Mario Balotelli and Daniele De Rossi ensured a result against a side they haven't won against since 1982, when the stakes were a lot higher than they were on Thursday.
The Azzurri were aesthetically brilliant to watch, with fluid passing in the midfield and positive performances from the debutantes Mattia De Sciglio and late substitute Alessio Cerci. Incredibly, there was not one player in the side that didn't have a brilliant game.
Malta vs. Italy Preview:
When: March 26, 2013. 3:45pm ET.
Where: Ta'Qali National Stadium. Attard, Malta.
Preview: Sell-out crowds of 17,000 strong are expected at the National Stadium in Malta as the tiny nation takes on the second most successful side in World Cup competitions.
With Claudio Marchisio expected to come back from a flu that kept him sidelined against Brazil, Cesare Prandelli will most likely put him in the starting lineup in the place of Riccardo Montolivo, who was brilliant against Brazil.
Up front, it'd be scandalous not to see Stephan El Shaarawy partnered with his Milan teammate Mario Balotelli, as Pablo Osvaldo showed little against Brazil.
Malta hasn't been given much of a chance, as the tiny nation is 0-4 all-time against the Italian national team, scoring only two goals, while conceding 15. They sit at the bottom of Group B, while Italy spearhead the table with 10 points, four more than second place Bulgaria.
Going back to the topic of Italy, it'll be interesting to see how Cesare Prandelli approaches these games. Italy has been known to not deliver the killer blow against minnow nations, as they only won 1-0 against the Faroe Islands in 2011.
However, it should be an easy ride for the Azzurri as they look to place an early ticket to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.