Italy Under-21 coach Pierluigi Casiraghi has named a strong 20-man squad for next Tuesday’s friendly against Belgium as the Azzurrini continue to build towards the summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
Among the selection for the fixture at the Stadio Guido Angelini in Chieti is forward Giuseppe Rossi, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Thursday and is in fine goalscoring form for Parma since returning to the club on loan from Manchester United last month.
Arsenal forward Arturo Lupoli, on loan at Derby County, has been confirmed in the squad after his debut in the 2-0 win over Luxembourg in December, when he became the first striker to score under the reign of Casiraghi. Juventus forward Raffaele Palladino makes his return after missing the last tie, but Bianconeri youngsters Paolo De Ceglie and Claudio Marchisio have been ignored.
The fact that Torino wizard Alessandro Rosina has been called up suggests that he won’t win his first call-up to the full squad for the friendly against Romania next Wednesday.
Defenders Marco Andeolli and Giorgio Chiellini, along with midfielder Alberto Aquilani, are missing because of injury.
Italy have qualified for next summer’s European Championships in the Netherlands between June 10 to 23. The five-time European champions will face England, Serbia and the Czech Republic in Group B.
Goalkeepers: Gianluca Curci (Roma), Emiliano Viviano (Brescia).
Defenders: Andrea Coda (Udinese), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Andrea Mantovani (Chievo), Lino Marzoratti (Empoli), Marco Motta (Udinese), Francesco Pisano (Cagliari), Alessandro Potenza (Fiorentina).
Midfielders: Raffaele De Martino (Udinese), Andrea Lazzari (Piacenza), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Antonio Nocerino (Piacenza), Simone Padoin (Vicenza), Alessandro Rosina (Torino).
Forwards: Arturo Lupoli (Derby County), Raffaele Palladino (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Fiorentina), Graziano Pelle' (Cesena), Giuseppe Rossi (Parma).