Amauri opts against singing Italian anthem

MILAN - Italy's new Brazil-born striker Amauri will not sing the Italian national anthem if he makes his debut on Tuesday and instead hopes his talking on the pitch can silence critics of his call-up.

The 30-year-old Juventus forward was named in new coach Cesare Prandelli's first squad for Tuesday's friendly with Ivory Coast in London but a right-wing Italian politician is among those to have slammed the call-up of a naturalised player.

Mario Balotelli, born in Italy but of Ghanaian descent, is also in the squad for the first time as Prandelli brings in new blood following a dreadful World Cup where they crashed out in the group stage.

"I know the Italian anthem but for now I won't sing it," Amauri told reporters as the squad gathered on Sunday.

"It will be up to me and Balotelli to change some people's minds. My aim is to stay in the Italy shirt for as long as possible, maybe until the Brazil World Cup in 2014. If I score against Brazil I would celebrate without a problem."

Amauri, who had the chance of a Brazil call-up last year, gained his Italian citizenship in April.

Prandelli told a news conference that forwards Alberto Gilardino and Giampaolo Pazzini had only been left out of his first squad because he is already fully aware of their qualities having worked with them at Fiorentina.

He has yet to sit down with the federation's new technical committee of Roberto Baggio, Arrigo Sacchi and Gianni Rivera to discuss how they can revive the fortunes of the 2006 world champions but hinted the recalled Antonio Cassano would be a key player.

"If he is able to make himself a reference point for the team, his adventure with the national side will last a long time," Prandelli said of the Sampdoria playmaker, who was ignored by previous coach Marcello Lippi for two years.

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