Zola has high hopes for Vieri

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The Independent Online
Injuries to Pier Luigi Casiraghi and Fabrizio Ravanelli have left the Italy coach, Cesare Maldini, little option but to draft in the uncapped Juventus forward, Christian Vieri, as partner for Gianfranco Zola in today's World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

Italy beat Moldova 3-1 away, leading to expectations of a possible goalscoring feast at home and the likelihood that Zola or Vieri will end the night as the man who scored Italy's 1,000th international goal.

Zola, who claimed Italy's 997th goal in 541 official matches with the winner against England at Wembley in February, has no qualms about partnering the 23-year-old Vieri.

"Christian's tactical awareness has surprised me...He's very similar to Casiraghi and I will have to play off and around him but I don't think there'll be any problems of understanding between us," he said yesterday.

"I've given him just one piece of advice, and that is to play according to his instinct."

Zola's winning goal in the Group Two qualifier at Wembley left Italy joint top with England but with a game in hand. They should go top today.

Apart from Vieri, the only other change from the side which beat England is the inclusion of Lazio's Alessandro Nesta instead of Parma's Fabio Cannavaro. Saturday's qualifier in the north-eastern port of Trieste, is the first of two Group Two games played by Italy in the next week. They face Poland in Chorzow on 2 April.