Rossi on cusp of first Italy start

MILAN - Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi could make his first start for Italy at home to Montenegro in today's World Cup qualifier after shaking off an injury, Italy coach Marcello Lippi said.

MILAN - Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi could make his first start for Italy at home to Montenegro in today's World Cup qualifier after shaking off an injury, Italy coach Marcello Lippi said.

Rossi made his international debut on Saturday when he came on as a substitute in the 0-0 draw in Bulgaria in Group Eight.

The American-born forward has recovered from a slight knock along with midfielders Daniele De Rossi and Gennaro Gattuso.

"They have all recovered. De Rossi can play. We already saw Rossi on Saturday and tomorrow [today] from the start or in the second half, it is very probable you will see him again," Lippi told a news conference yesterday.

Training sessions suggest Rossi could replace Antonio Di Natale on the left of a three-pronged attack in the match in Lecce with the only other doubt surrounding Riccardo Montolivo.

The midfielder was ineffective after being given a rare start for the world champions in Bulgaria and Alberto Aquilani looks favourite to take his place.

Security is being tightened for today's match after a group of Italy fans threw bottles, made fascist salutes and burnt Bulgarian flags in the match in Sofia on Saturday.

Italy top the group with seven points from three games. - Reuters

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