MILAN - New Italy coach Cesare Prandelli
has named long-overlooked forwards Antonio Cassano, Mario
Balotelli and Amauri in his squad for his first game in charge
against Ivory Coast in a friendly on Tuesday.
Inter Milan's 19-year-old striker Balotelli, being courted
by Manchester City despite a series of on-and-off the field
problems, earns his first call-up alongside Brazil-born forward
The inconsistent Juventus striker had the chance of making
the Brazil squad last year but hung on to gain Italian
citizenship only to be ignored by Marcello Lippi for Italy's
World Cup humiliation in June.
In all there are eight new call-ups and only nine players
remain from the squad which went to South Africa as defending
champions but were dumped out in the group stage without winning
Fabio Cannavaro and Gennaro Gattuso retired from
internationals after the debacle and former Fiorentina boss
Prandelli has signalled a possible end to the Italy careers of
Antonio Di Natale and Gianluca Zambrotta by leaving them out.
Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo are not fit so AS Roma's
Daniele De Rossi is set to be captain for the game at West Ham
United's Upton Park in London despite his club side not having
played a competitive game yet this term.
Sampdoria talisman Cassano, who has overcome his bad-boy
image in recent seasons, was also overlooked by Lippi for two
years but makes his return to the squad having last been
involved at Euro 2008.
Italy start their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign in Estonia
on Sept. 3 before hosting the Faroe Islands in Florence on September
Goalkeepers: Federico Marchetti (Cagliari), Salvatore Sirigu
(Palermo), Emiliano Viviano (Bologna)
Defenders: Luca Antonini (AC Milan), Davide Astori
(Cagliari), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Mattia Cassani
(Palermo), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Stefano Lucchini
(Sampdoria), Cristian Molinaro (VfB Stuttgart), Marco Motta
Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Andrea Lazzari
(Cagliari), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Ricardo Montolivo
(Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Juventus)
Forwards: Amauri (Juventus), Mario Balotelli (Inter Milan),
Marco Borriello (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria), Fabio
Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal).
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