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Italy bank on reluctant 'saviour'

Luca Toni will lead the Italy attack against Georgia on Saturday after missing last month's Group B games against France and Ukraine because of a thigh injury.

Luca Toni will lead Italy's attack against Georgia on Saturday after sitting out last month's Group B games against France and Ukraine with a thigh injury.

Purple patch
Since leaving ACF Fiorentina for FC Bayern München in the summer, Toni has scored eight goals in as many Bundesliga matches – and the Azzurri sorely missed him in the goalless visit of France. "I was very sad to miss that game against France, especially as we had lost to them in Paris," the 30-year-old said. "However, my fitness problems are over and I feel in great form."

'High expectations'
Italy coach Roberto Donadoni can hope for a sharper performance with Toni up front, though the man himself is quick to play down his potential role. "I don't feel like the saviour of Italy," he said. "I'm just aware of my responsibilities and am happy to deal with high expectations. I have scored a lot of goals for Bayern but only because there is a great team supporting me. I think it will be the same with Italy."

Tight section
The UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying picture remains complicated for the world champions, who are one point behind group leaders Scotland and one above France. "I was not expecting Scotland to win in France [in their last game] and this result has made everything more difficult for us," Toni said. "But I won't be cheering against Scotland [when they play Ukraine] as we need to concentrate on our own campaign. If we win all three remaining matches we are through so we don't need to watch the others. We must start by taking three points against Georgia in Genoa."