Italy call Balotelli, Cassano & Amauri

Posted on 06/08/2010


Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano and Amauri have all been named in Cesare Prandelli’s maiden Italian national squad.

The Azzurri face the Ivory Coast on Tuesday at West Ham’s Upton Park in a friendly and the new tactician has named 23 players.

Inter’s Balotelli and Juventus hitman Amauri receive their first call-ups, while Cassano returns to the fold for the first time since Euro 2008.

While Balotelli and Cassano were expected to be included, Amauri’s selection may come as a surprise to some.

Amauri, born in Brazil, only received his Italian passport less than six months ago.

Of the six attackers named by Prandelli, only Fabio Quagliarella is a survivor from Marcello Lippi’s 2010 World Cup squad.

Alberto Gilardino of Fiorentina and Sampdoria’s Giampaolo Pazzini, players who Prandelli has worked with in the past, haven’t been selected.

Bologna’s Emiliano Viviano, another debutant, is one of the three goalkeepers given the absence of the injured Gigi Buffon.

There are new and internationally inexperienced faces in defence too as Luca Antonini, Davide Astori, Mattia Cassani, Stefano Lucchini, Cristian Molinaro and Marco Motta are picked.

Given that Buffon and Milan’s Andrea Pirlo have not been selected, Roma’s Daniele De Rossi is likely to captain the side.

The players will meet up on Sunday at Coverciano in Florence, with their flight to London scheduled for Monday.

Italy kick off their Euro 2012 campaign in Estonia on September 3. Goalkeepers: Marchetti (Cagliari), Sirigu (Palermo), Viviano (Bologna)

Defenders: Antonini (Milan), Astori (Cagliari), Bonucci (Juventus), Cassani (Palermo), Chiellini (Juventus), Lucchini (Sampdoria), Molinaro (Stuttgart), Motta (Juventus)

Midfielders: De Rossi (Roma), Lazzari (Cagliari), Marchisio (Juventus), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Palombo (Sampdoria), Pepe (Juventus)

Attackers: Amauri (Juventus), Balotelli (Inter), Borriello (Milan), Cassano (Sampdoria), Quagliarella (Napoli), Rossi (Villarreal)

Source: Football-Italia