Italy keeper Marchetti Cagliari's third choice

MILAN, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Federico Marchetti was Italy's World Cup goalkeeper in June but four months later he will not even be on the bench when club side Cagliari host Serie A champions Inter Milan on Sunday.

A stand-in for the injured Gianluigi Buffon in South Africa, Marchetti did not cover himself in glory as the then holders crashed out in the group stage.

In truth, he was not at great fault for the goals he conceded but they contributed to his dream move to Sampdoria falling through and thus Cagliari dropping him from the first team squad because of his disloyalty in courting a transfer.

At first fans assumed he was injured but it has now become clear he will sit on the sidelines until the January window.

Italy sources at Tuesday's abandoned Euro 2012 qualifier against Serbia, where new keeper Emiliano Viviano was almost hit by a flare, said Marchetti was being kept out at Cagliari for "tactical reasons" and so could not be considered for Italy.

The saga is one of several to dog the modest Sardinian club, 13th in Serie A after six games.

Daniele Conti and Alessandro Agostini were left out of the 0-0 draw at Chievo last time out after media reports of a bust-up with coach Pierpaolo Bisoli, who took over in the wake of Massimiliano Allegri's departure for AC Milan.

Media are already questioning Bisoli's future in the job.

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Cagliari, who recently unveiled ambitious plans to build a new stadium by the end of 2011 to replace their dilapidated Sant'Elia, will at least be buoyed by treble winners Inter failing to score in their last two league outings.

Inter coach Rafael Benitez said his side still played well in a 1-0 defeat by AS Roma and 0-0 draw with Juventus but blamed injuries to his surprisingly thin squad for the lack of goals.

Diego Milito and Esteban Cambiasso are out after suffering thigh problems while with Argentina but Inter captain Javier Zanetti hopes to be back to full fitness after three weeks out.

The Cagliari match is the first high-profile Serie A game to kick off in the new and widely unpopular 1030 GMT Sunday slot.

Second-placed Inter are two points behind surprise leaders Lazio, who have had the international break to sit back and admire their early achievements.

The Romans, relegation candidates last term, visit Bari in Sunday's late game knowing what their rivals have done.

Fourth-placed Milan, with injuries clearing up but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic admitting he is not 100 percent, again start the weekend action with a home game against Chievo on Saturday while improving Juventus host Lecce on Sunday.


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