Friday, 29 August 2008

Balotelli to line up with Azzurrini

Inter striker Mario Balotelli has been named in Italy's squad for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Greece and Croatia on 5 and 9 September.

Mario BalotelliThe 18-year-old – born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents but adopted by an Italian family aged three – is considered one of the hottest prospects in Serie A.

Balotelli scored three goals in eleven league games last season for title-winners Inter, as well as four goals in as many Coppa Italia ties.

He received Italian citizenship on 12 August when he turned 18.

Pierluigi Casiraghi's side lead qualifying Group 1 with 22 points, four more than Croatia and eight more than Greece and know a further victory will secure qualification into the play-offs.

Casiraghi, who is trying to get back on track after the disappointment of the Olympic Games where Italy were knocked out by Belgium at the quarter-final stage, has also picked Roma centre-back Marco Andreolli and young Fiorentina goalkeeper Andrea Seculin.

The squad will gather in Rome on Tuesday before travelling to their camp in Castel Di Sangro.

Italy squad
Goalkeepers: Andrea Consigli (Atalanta), Andrea Seculin (Fiorentina), Salvatore Sirigu (Ancona).
Defenders: Marco Andreolli (Roma), Antonio Bocchetti (Genoa), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Paolo De Ceglie (Juventus), Lino Marzoratti (Empoli), Marco Motta (Udinese), Francesco Pisano (Cagliari), Andrea Ranocchia (Bari).
Midfielders: Francesco Bolzoni (Inter), Antonio Candreva (Livorno), Luca Cigarini (Atalanta), Daniele Dessena (Sampdoria), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Piermario Morosini (Vicenza), Andrea Russotto (Napoli).
Forwards: Robert Acquafresca (Cagliari), Mario Balotelli (Inter), Davide Lanzafame (Bari), Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (Fiorentina).

Source: UEFA

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