Borini bags first Italy call-up for USA friendly

AS Roma striker Fabio Borini was the only new face in Italy's squad for Wednesday's friendly with the United States but there was no place for in-form Mario Balotelli.

Borini, 20, has been consistent for the Italy Under-21 team and has burst on to the scene with Roma this term having largely gone unnoticed during spells with Chelsea and Swansea in the English league.

Coach Cesare Prandelli, whose side takes on Spain, Ireland and Croatia at June's Euro 2012, is desperate for attacking options with Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi facing battles to be fit for the championships.

The unexplained absence of Balotelli, who scored in Manchester City's 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday and looked in fine fettle, is therefore surprising given Antonio Di Natale is also out with a knock.

Prandelli has in the past left out players because of disciplinary problems, and Balotelli has just returned from a domestic ban. Fellow striker Pablo Osvaldo, sent off in Roma's 4-1 defeat at Atalanta on Sunday, was also missing.

However, midfielder Daniele De Rossi was included despite being dropped from the Roma squad for disciplinary reasons.

Four goalkeepers were also named in Prandelli's 23 for the game in Genoa, with Emiliano Viviano now fit after a long injury layoff.

Juventus duo Simone Pepe and Fabio Quagliarella were left out while Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia is injured.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo).

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Federico Balzaretti (Palermo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St Petersburg), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino).

Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Antonio Nocerino (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus).

Forwards: Fabio Borini (Roma), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma), Alessandro Matri (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Inter Milan).


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