Friday, 16 May 2008

[Olympics 2008] Italy prepare in Toulon

Italy Under-21 coach Pierluigi Casiraghi has named his 22-man squad for next week’s pre-Olympics friendly tournament in France.

The Azzurri qualified for the men's Olympic Games football tournament in China through the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championships, and the prestigious Toulon tournament from May 20 to 29 gives Casiraghi a final chance to assess his players before naming the official Under-23 squad for August.

Empoli goalkeeper Davide Bassi and Atalanta midfielder Tiberio Guarente have been called up for the first time.

Among the other players in the squad are Cagliari hitman Robert Acquafresca, Empoli starlet Sebastian Giovinco and Bari sensation Davide Lanzafame.

The squad will gather in Rome on Sunday night before flying out to France on Monday afternoon.

The Azzurrini are in Group B and will kick-off their campaign against Ivory Coast on Wednesday 21 May, before facing Turkey on Friday 23 May and the United States of America on Sunday 25 May.

Group A contains hosts France, who have won the last four editions of this tournament; along with Chile, Japan and the Netherlands.

The semi-finals are scheduled for Tuesday 27 May, while the final will take place in Toulon on Thursday 29 May.

Last month, Italy were drawn in Group D for the Olympic Games with Cameroon, Honduras and South Korea. Ivory Coast, Japan, the Netherlands and the USA are the other sides, taking part in France, who will be in China this summer.

[2008 Olympics Draw]

Goalkeepers: Enrico Alfonso (Venezia), Davide Bassi (Empoli).
Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Frosinone), Michele Canini (Cagliari), Andrea Coda (Udinese), Paolo De Ceglie (Siena), Lorenzo De Silvestri (Lazio), Hernan Dellafiore (Torino), Lino Marzoratti (Empoli), Marco Motta (Torino).
Midfielders: Luca Cigarini (Parma), Daniele Dessena (Parma), Daniele Galloppa (Siena), Tiberio Guarente (Atalanta), Claudio Marchisio (Empoli), Antonio Nocerino (Juventus).
Forwards: Ignazio Abate (Empoli), Robert Acquafresca (Cagliari), Sebastian Giovinco (Empoli), Davide Lanzafame (Bari), Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (Fiorentina), Graziano Pelle (AZ Alkmaar).

All kick-off times listed below are UK time (+1hr for Italy/France/CET).

Group A Fixtures
20-05-08: Japan v Netherlands (Toulon, 1710)
20-05-08: France v Chile (Toulon, 1930)
22-05-08: France v Japan (Hyeres, 1710)
22-05-08: Netherlands v Chile (Hyeres, 1930)
24-05-08: Chile v Japan (Sollies-Pont, 1730)
24-05-08: France v Netherlands (Saint Cyr, 1730)

Group B Fixtures
21-05-08: Turkey v USA (Toulon, 1450)
21-05-08: Ivory Coast v Italy (Toulon, 1710)
23-05-08: Ivory Coast v USA (La Seyne, 1730)
23-05-08: Italy v Turkey (La Seyne, 1950)
25-05-08: Italy v USA (La Valette du Var, 1700)
25-05-08: Ivory Coast v Turkey (Aubagne, 1700)

27-05-08: [Group A Winner] v [Group B Runners-up] (Toulon, 1700)
27-05-08: [Group B Winner] v [Group A Runners-up] (Toulon, 1945)

Third/Fourth-placed Final
29-05-08: [SF1 loser] v [SF2 loser] (Toulon, 1700)

29-05-08: [SF1 winner] v [SF2 winner] (Toulon, 1945)

* All matches will be shown live in the UK on British Eurosport and Eurosport 2.

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