Reports from Italy's training camp in Guateng suggest that Marcello Lippi is weighing up two options in terms of formation for the azzurri's match against Paraguay, but neither would entail a meaningful departure from how the team has been recently taking shape in the absence of Andrea Pirlo.
Above: Figure 1: Italy's 4-2-3-1 is apparent and defined but ill-suited to Marchisio's box-to-box game. As such, the azzurri's articulation when approaching the final third is likely to become less fluid. The yellow lines represent the adoption of defensive positioning.
It would appear that despite the less-than-convincing performances in the friendly games versus Mexico and Switzerland, Lippi is keeping faith with the 4-2-3-1 that sees Juventus' box-to-box midfielder Claudio Marchisio improvised in the treqartista role.
But Italy have also been rehearsing movements in an alternative system that can best be described (and has been by Gazzetta dello Sport) as a hybrid 4-4-2/4-3-3 and which restores Marchisio to something of a more natural role at interior-left in a tight bank of three which promptly becomes a four in the defensive phase due to Simone Pepe (or Mauro Camoranesi) being entrusted with a 'tornante' role at wide-right midfield.
A knock-on effect of this synchronisation is that Italy's left-sided attacking player (either Iaquinta or Di Natale) will be freed from most defensive duties beyond pressing the opposing right-back and may even be free to float all across the front line in channels not occupied by centre-forward Gilardino.
To my mind, Lippi's entertaining of this modification points to his common sense since the second formation simply adjusts to the natural characteristics of the human material available - or, if you prefer, the players' natural tendencies have ended up tilting the formation away from a 'square-pegs-in-round-holes' scenario and the coach has dutifully gone about formalising this osmosis, tidying things up here and there and organising the team for the defensive phase.
Above Right: Figure 2. A more cohesive shape, given the personel at hand. Di Natale (or Iaquinta) theoretically benefits from his resulting proximity to goal. The defensive phase sees two deeper banks of four being adopted.