Tuesday, 20 May 2008

[Euro 2008] Donadoni names provisional squad

Antonio Cassano and Alessandro Del Piero are the surprise inclusion in the 24-man provisional Italy squad for UEFA Euro 2008, on the day coach Roberto Donadoni announced he has signed a new contract extention.

Striker Cassano has had an excellent season with Sampdoria but has not played for Italy since a September 2006 qualifier against France.

"I'm not taking any chances with Cassano," explained Donadoni. "He is not a youngster any more and knows what it means to be a member of a group. I know perfectly well what he can give in technical terms."

The 25-year-old, on loan from Real Madrid, scored ten goals in 22 Serie A games for sixth-placed Sampdoria. He starred in Euro 2004 but has since struggled with form and temperament.

Juventus captain Del Piero, 33, is also included after scoring 21 goals this term – his best tally since 1998 – to finish as Serie A's leading scorer.

However, there is no place for AC Milan forward Filippo Inzaghi or for defender Massimo Oddo and Juventus' Vincenzo Iaquinta, who are struggling with injuries.

"There are no reserves. I have called up 24 players and they will compete for the 23 places," said Donadoni.

Donadoni, who will cut his party down to 23 players on 28 May, the UEFA deadline to submit final squads, has included 14 players who were involved in the Azzurri's World Cup-winning squad in Germany two years ago.

At the press conference, the Italian Football Federation President Giancarlo Abete revealed that Donadoni has put pen to paper on a new deal, expiring after the FIFA World Cup finals in 2010.

"I'm delighted with the new contract because I consider it a show of faith from the Federation," Donadoni said.

Both parties can cancel the deal depending on results at the European Championships as the new deal includes a reciprocal escape clause that can be put into effect within 10 days after Italy's participation in Euro 2008 ends.

"I'll be the first to step down if we don't get good results," Donadoni said.

Abete added: "There is a reciprocal rescission clause in the contract that includes taking responsibility.

"Donadoni is aware there is faith in him and our rapport works along the mutual sense of responsibility.

"There is a handshake, a verbal agreement. We confirm there is a strong desire to stick together and go forward based on quality. It is based on the ability to come together and verify the outcome of a European Championship that gives us all the belief to carry on."

The squad will train at the FIGC's Coverciano headquarters from Sunday before facing Belgium in Florence on 30 May in their last friendly before the finals in Austria and Switzerland.

The Azzurri, who will fly off to their Austrian base of Baden on 2 June, play their opening Group C game against the Netherlands in Berne on 9 June. They then meet Romania on 13 June and France four days later in Zurich.

Italy's provisional squad
Goalkeepers: Marco Amelia (Livorno), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Sevilla).
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Palermo), Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Fabio Grosso (Olympique Lyonnais), Marco Materazzi (Inter), Christian Panucci (Roma), Gianluca Zambrotta (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Massimo Ambrosini (Milan), Alberto Aquilani (Roma), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Simone Perrotta (Roma), Andrea Pirlo (Milan).
Forwards: Marco Borriello (Genoa), Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria), Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Fabio Quagliarella (Udinese), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich).

Source: UEFA

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