Italy Squad: Antonio Cassano Out, Rino Gattuso In
Italy coach Marcello Lippi has named his squad for the final World Cup qualifiers against Ireland and Cyprus, and there is big controversy as Antonio Cassano has again been snubbed while Milan’s Rino Gattuso has been recalled despite his poor club form.
The Azzurri travel to Dublin next Saturday to face Ireland, before hosting Cyrpus the following Wednesday. A draw against the Irish will be sufficient to book their place in South Africa next summer but even if they lose, a win against the Cypriots in their last game will still be enough for automatic qualification.
There had been constant calls for the star player in Serie A this season, Antonio Cassano, to be finally given the nod, but Lippi has again overlooked the Sampdoria ‘Talentino’ and has done the same to club-mate Giampaolo Pazzini.
Lippi sticks with the same group of forwards who have disappointed in recent matches.
Meanwhile there are recalls for Gattuso and Fiorentina’s Alessandro Gamberini after the stopper successfully shackled Liverpool’s Fernando Torres in midweek.
Salvatore Bocchetti of Genoa returns from injury, with club team-mate Domenico Criscito dropping out. Marco Marchionni also loses his place.
Fabio Cannavaro is suspended for the game against Ireland, but will return for the clash against Cyprus in Parma.
GOALKEEPERS: Gigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli) & Federico Marchetti (Cagliari)
DEFENDERS: Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina), Fabio Grosso (Juventus), Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus), Davide Santon (Inter) & Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan)
MIDFIELDERS: Mauro German Camoranesi (Juventus), Gaetano D’Agostino (Udinese), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Rino Gattuso (Milan), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Udinese) & Andrea Pirlo (Milan)
FORWARDS: Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli) & Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal).