Italy striker Alessandro del Piero will start in today’s European Championship qualifier against Romania and will also wear the captain’s armband as the world champions try to avoid a humiliating elimination from the tournament.

Coach Roberto Donadoni, his job on the line after the 3-0 defeat against the Netherlands, announced that Del Piero will take over as captain from goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Donadoni said he would make “three or four changes” in his lineup, also revealing that Giorgio Chiellini will be part of the defence. Italy will be eliminated if they lose to Romania.

“I think it’s fairly logical to make some changes,” Donadoni said. “We have other alternatives.”

Donadoni was heavily criticized after the debacle against the Netherlands for wavering with his lineup choices until two hours before kickoff. Now, he has announced his intentions publicly 24 hours before match time — and it seems the players all know their positions already.

“I’m going to play next to (Luca) Toni as a second forward,” said Del Piero, who has scored 27 goals for Italy in 87 appearances. “I want to be in the right place at the right time, and I want to be decisive.”

Del Piero topped the list of Serie A scorers this season with 21 goals.

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