Sunday, 2 September 2007

Azzurri: Panucci back in Italy reckoning

Roma defender Christian Panucci has been recalled to the Italy squad for the Euro 2008 Group B qualifiers against France and Ukraine while coach Roberto Donadoni has given Pasquale Foggia his first call-up.

Panucci, who last appeared for the Azzurri in the 2004 finals, has been brought into Donadoni's 25-man selection because of a thigh injury to Marco Materazzi and Alessandro Nesta’s retirement after impressing in an unfamiliar centre-back role this season. The 34-year-old's experience may now get him the nod to start against France next weekend over Andrea Barzagli and recalled Fiorentina defender Alessandro Gamberini.

Meanwhile, Foggia receives an opportunity after scoring twice for Cagliari in their 3-2 Serie A defeat against Juventus. Giorgio Chiellini, who scored the winning goal in that game for the Turin giants, is also back in the squad after a year-long absence while Daniele De Rossi and Simone Perrotta are in contention after being left out of the Italian side that was defeated by Hungary in last month's friendly.

Italy can leapfrog France into top spot in Group B if they win in Milan next Saturday, currently trailing their opponents by two points. They then meet Ukraine in Kiev four days later.

Italy squad
Goalkeepers: Christian Abbiati (Atletico Madrid), Marco Amelia (Livorno), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus).
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Palermo), Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina), Fabio Grosso (Olympique Lyonnais), Massimo Oddo (Milan), Christian Panucci (Roma), Gianluca Zambrotta (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Massimo Ambrosini (Milan), Alberto Aquilani (Roma), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Pasquale Foggia (Cagliari), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Simone Perrotta (Roma), Andrea Pirlo (Milan).
Forwards: Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Filippo Inzaghi (Milan), Cristiano Lucarelli (Shakhtar Donetsk), Fabio Quagliarella (Udinese), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich).

Source: C4 Football / UEFA

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