Italy schedule Ireland friendly at Craven Cottage
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FIFA World Cup™ hopefuls Italy will face Republic of Ireland at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground as the Azzurri finalise preparations for this summer's tournament in Brazil, the Italian football federation (FIGC) announced.

Italy, the beaten UEFA EURO 2012 finalists, recently suffered a 1-0 defeat to world and European champions Spain in a friendly which gave Cesare Prandelli the chance to gauge his side against quality opposition.

The Azzurri will open their World Cup campaign against England before taking on fellow group D opponents Costa Rica and Uruguay.

A statement from the FIGC said: "On the road to the World Cup, Cesare Prandelli's side will face Ireland in a friendly on 31 May at Craven Cottage in London and will be the penultimate test before the team flies out to Brazil," said the statement.

Italy have a final pre-World Cup friendly against Luxembourg on 4 June, a day before the team is scheduled to leave for the World Cup.

Craven Cottage also hosted Italy's last friendly away from home six months ago when Prandelli's side drew 2-2 with Nigeria.