Sunday, 12 October 2008

[Azzurri] Quagliarella drafted in

With Luca Toni suspended for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Montenegro, Marcello Lippi has called Fabio Quagliarella into the squad to complete the attacking Udinese trident.

Squad warming down todayItaly’s 0-0 draw with Bulgaria showed problems up front and more importantly the yellow card picked up by Toni means he'll sit out a ban for the qualifier in Lecce.

There were rumours Lippi would recall Alessandro Del Piero to fill the gap, but instead he has gone for Quagliarella.

"I called Quagliarella because he is a centre-forward, is in good shape and has already played in the Nazionale in the past," Lippi said.

This is an intriguing choice, as two of the front three against Bulgaria were already Udinese teammates – Simone Pepe and Antonio Di Natale.

If Alberto Gilardino does not start or is substituted during the match with Montenegro, the Azzurri may well end up fielding the entire Udinese front line.

It is a reward for the good work of the Friuli club, who currently top the Serie A table alongside Lazio and Inter.

Udinese have scored 10 goals in Serie A this season – the second highest figure behind Lazio's 14 – plus two in the UEFA Cup.

Quagliarella has netted more than any of his teammates with three this term, followed by Di Natale and Pepe on two.

He will travel to the training camp in Puglia this evening, where Italy begin preparations for the crucial midweek match.

Meanwhile, Daniele De Rossi is an injury doubt for the game, although tests confirm no serious damage to his thigh.

The Roma midfielder picked up a knock during the draw and was seen still limping when the team arrived in Lecce for today's training session.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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