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International friendly preview: Netherlands v Italy

The Netherlands head into Wednesday’s friendly against Italy with an impressive strike rate.

The Dutch have won seven of the 17 internationals between the two countries, dating back to 1920.

They have lost only three matches, the most recent a 3-0 defeat at the 2008 European Championships.

But with Manchester United striker Robin van Persie in impressive form, the Oranje look poised to add to their impressive record against the Italians.

However, coach Louis van Gaal will be without Swansea City goalkeeper Michel Vorm whose injured knee continues to cause him problems.

The former Utrecht shot-stopper has missed his side’s last two matches against Sunderland and West Ham because of a persistent knee problem.

Maarten Stekelenburg, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben have all been left out for the match at Amsterdam ArenA.

Notable newcomers are Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman and Ajax wing-back Daley Blind.

Meanwhile, Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has recalled Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti for the international friendly.

Only three players from outside Italy have been chosen – Newcastle United fullback Davide Santon and Paris Saint-Germain pair Salvatore Sirigu and Marco Verratti.

The new Milan partnership of former Manchester City attacker Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy could also get their chance to impress Prandelli.

Balotelli scored twice on his Milan debut on Sunday in the 2-1 Serie A victory over Udinese.

But there was some late disappointment for Juventus striker Sebastian Giovinco who has been ruled out with a thigh problem after arriving at the Azzurri training camp.

Mon 4 February, 2013
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