NEWS
Sunday November 6 2011
Italy: Abate, Balotelli and Matri called

Ignazio Abate, Mario Balotelli and Alessandro Matri are called for Italy’s friendlies against Poland and Uruguay. “I’ll wait for Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi.”

The Azzurri have already qualified for Euro 2012 and therefore have two international tests, which are particularly important with Cassano and Rossi out for six months.

“I visited Cassano in hospital and he was doing well with real hunger to get back on the field, which is a good sign,” said Cesare Prandelli on Stadio Sprint.

“Unfortunately we have lost two important players like Antonio and Giuseppe, but I’ll wait for them. In the meantime, we have to evaluate some other options, so these friendlies have come at the right time.

“The plan was to put Balotelli between those two, as we are really counting on him. I’ve called up Abate, who is in great shape for Milan, but he has to prove he deserves the Nazionale by performing consistently.”

Juventus duo Matri and Simone Pepe also return to the squad, but there is no call for top scorer Antonio Di Natale or Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.

Italy will take on Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland in Wroclaw on Friday November 11 and then welcome Copa America winners Uruguay to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Tuesday November 15.

Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juve), De Sanctis (Napoli), Sirigu (Paris Saint Germain)

Defenders: Abate (Milan), Balzaretti (Palermo), Barzagli and Chiellini (Juve), Criscito (Zenit), Maggio (Napoli), Ogbonna (Torino), Ranocchia (Inter).

Midfielders: Aquilani and Nocerino (Milan), De Rossi (Roma), Marchisio and Pirlo (Juventus), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Inter).

Forwards: Balotelli (Manchester City), Giovinco (Parma), Matri and Pepe (Juventus), Osvaldo (Roma), Pazzini (Inter).

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