Prandelli plumps for trio
Cesare Prandelli has named Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli and Amauri in his squad to face Ivory Coast.
Last Updated: 07/08/10 4:51pm
New Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has named previously out-of-favour strikers Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli and Amauri in his squad to face Ivory Coast on Tuesday night.
Prandelli, who replaced Marcello Lippi as head coach following the Azzurri's miserable World Cup campaign, will take charge of his first game when Italy take on the Elephants at West Ham's Upton Park.
He has unveiled eight new call-ups and included only nine players from the squad which were dumped out of the group stages in South Africa without winning a game.
Inter Milan's 19-year-old striker Balotelli, a transfer target for Manchester City, earns his first call-up alongside Brazil-born forward Amauri.
Fabio Cannavaro and Gennaro Gattuso have retired from international football and 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 on Tuesday night 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 3rd September before hosting the Faroe Islands in Florence on 7th 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 (Juventus)
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).