Prandelli to try out Giovinco-Cassano pairing
It will be the diminutive Parma striker's first start for Italy after five previous appearances as a substitute.
"I don't think his height is a problem," coach Cesare Prandelli told reporters after the naming the side for what is effectively a friendly.
"If a player with his physical characteristics can make it in Serie A, then he's got what it takes to get to the top of the mountain.
"He's started the championship well and he's getting better from so many points of view, he's working to make himself a complete forward."
Italy, unbeaten in Group C, have already made sure of top spot and a place in Poland and Ukraine next year while Northern Ireland are eliminated.
Prandelli said his team needed to be more incisive than in their 1-1 draw away to Serbia on Friday.
"In the last match, we had a high percentage of ball possession but with few shots on goal, so this time I expect more attention and more incisiveness in the final few metres."
Although Italy have dropped only four points in nine games, their goalscoring record has not been especially impressive.
Apart from the 5-0 win over Faroe Islands and a 3-0 walkover at home to Serbia, in a match abandoned because of crowd trouble, they have managed a modest nine goals.