Italy halted growing criticism as they ended a run of seven winless games by beating Brazilian side Fluminense 5-3 late on Sunday in a pre-World Cup test match played with an unusual three-pronged attack.

Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne scored a hat-trick and a brace, respectively, playing alongside Alessio Cerci and providing the speed and aggression that the Azzurri lacked in recent outings.

The 4-3-3 experimental formation fielded against the solid Rio De Janeiro side was widely praised Monday, with la Repubblica commentator Fabrizio Bocca calling the two scorers “the secret weapon” that coach Cesare Prandelli should have the courage to deploy in their opening World Cup game against England on Saturday.

The good showing from Immobile, who this season topped the Serie A scorers chart on 22 goals, brought back disappointed comments about his recent transfer from Torino to German side Borussia Dortmund.

The Azzurri, who arrived in Brazil Friday, were less effective playing with a single striker in the two friendlies they drew against Ireland (0-0) and Luxembourg (1-1) before leaving their camp in Italy.

As Mario Balotelli, who came on in the second half with nine other team-mates, remains Prandelli’s first choice upfront, the coach seems now close to his goal of having different formations available.

“We have seen some interesting things, with the two boys (Immobile and Insigne) who did well upfront,” Prandelli said. “The form is good, therefore this week we will work on speed.

“We must have more courage and try to snatch the ball from the opponents’ midfield.” There was little praise for the Azzurri’s defence package made up of reserves who stuttered on several occasions and saw third keeper Mattia Perin botch an easy save on the hosts’ second goal.

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