Zambrotta returns for Italy qualifiers

MILAN, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Gianluca Zambrotta made a surprise return to the Italy squad on Sunday for the Euro 2012 qualifiers in Northern Ireland on Friday and at home to Serbia on October 12.

The AC Milan full-back, 33-years-old and with 97 caps, played for the Azzurri in their ill-fated World Cup campaign in June and had been overlooked by new coach Cesare Prandelli ever since, prompting rumours his international career was over.

However, injuries and decent form in Serie A have earned him a recall along with AS Roma striker Marco Borriello, World Cup left back Domenico Criscito and Lazio midfielder Stefano Mauri.

The latter, who scored the winner against Brescia on Sunday as Lazio fly high in the league, last played for the former world champions in 2007.

Defenders Cristian Molinaro and Lorenzo De Silvestri, in the squad for the opening victories over Estonia and Faroe Islands, miss out along with Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is still injured.

Juventus striker Fabio Quagliarella was also a notable absentee but vague speculation that AS Roma's Francesco Totti could make a comeback proved to be wide of the mark.

Italy, who top Group C with their two wins out of two, host main rivals Serbia in Genoa when they return from Northern Ireland.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Emiliano Viviano (Bologna), Salvatore Sirigu (Palermo), Antonio Mirante (Parma);

Defenders: Mattia Cassani (Palermo), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan), Daniele Gastaldello (Sampdoria), Cesare Bovo (Palermo), Luca Antonelli (Parma)

Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Andrea Lazzari (Cagliari), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Stefano Mauri (Lazio), Simone Pepe (Juventus)

Forwards: Marco Borriello (Roma), Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal).