Italy live updates

Giaccherini ready to fight for a spot

Sunderland midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini hopes to have boosted his chances of playing in next summer's World Cup after his performance against Nigeria in Monday's international friendly.

I am delighted with my performance and that of the team. It's a pity that just when we were playing at our best, Nigeria scored twice.

I think in any case we reacted well and we were able to draw.

We really wanted to do well in our last friendly and I think we handed a good performance.

I believe that when the important games begin Italy will be ready.

I just hope to continue to do well and conquer a place for the tournament in Brazil.

– Sunderland winger Emanuele Giaccherini

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Honours even at the Cottage

Shola Ameobi scored a superb volley. Credit: PA

Italy and Nigeria shared the honours in a lively friendly at Craven Cottage on Monday night.

Giuseppe Rossi put Italy ahead early on but Nigeria hit back with two goals in five minutes before half-time, Bright Dike levelling before Newcastle's Shola Ameobi put the African Nations Cup champions ahead.

However, Sunderland forward Emanuele Giaccherini equalised for Italy in the 47th minute as the clash finished 2-2.

Mario Balotelli was back in the UK. Credit: PA

Rossi misses out

Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi is likely to be denied an emotional return to Azzurri duty due to tonsillitis.

Rossi, who has come back from two anterior cruciate ligament injuries to become Serie A's top scorer this season with 11 goals for Fiorentina, sat out training on Thursday morning and is unlikely to be risked in Friday night's friendly against Germany in Milan.

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Parolo inspired by Gerrard

Italy midfielder Marco Parolo has revealed he sees England captain Steven Gerrard as his role model whilst learning to become a top player.

I have always been inspired by Gerrard. I think he is a point of reference for any midfielder of my generation."

– Italy midfielder Marco Parolo

Buffon to become Italy's most capped player

All eyes will be on Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon when the Azzurri travel to Copenhagen for Friday's World Cup Group B qualifier against Denmark.

The Juventus goalkeeper will become Italy's most capped player when he makes his 137th appearance against the Danes.

It's an important achievement. But it will not be my last one.

The national team is a reference point for me, it's the most beautiful expression of our football.

It is the best thing we can export considering the results we have taken.

– Buffon speaking to www.figc.it.

Buffon backs Totti for World Cup

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon described Roma forward Francesco Totti as a footballing "immortal" and believes it would be difficult to leave him out of the 2014 World Cup squad if he maintains his present club form.

Francesco is immortal.

He is a player who can make a difference at any stage and at any age.

It's normal that you speak of him in those terms (as a national team candidate) but it is also true that we are in October and that there are still eight, nine months until the World Cup. I believe that, if he is still playing this way at the end of the season, no coach, player or fan would have any doubts (about selecting him).

– Italy goalkeeper Gigi Buffon
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