Cagliari duo get Italy call

16 May 2013 07:17

Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi and teammate Marco Sau were among the three new additions to Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's squad for a June friendly against San Marino and a World Cup qualifier away to the Czech Republic.

Atalanta midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura was also called up for the first time ahead of the San Marino friendly in Bologna on May 31, according to the Italian football federation (FIGC) on Friday.

Italy then travel to the Czech Republic on June 7 looking for their fifth win in six games in Group B, which the Azzuri lead with a three-point lead on Bulgaria, who have played a game more.

Prandelli has experimented with several new players and formations in the wake of Italy's run to the final of Euro 2012 where they were humbled by World Cup winners Spain.

However, he has kept faith with the bulk of that squad as he continues to rely on a mix of experience -- with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo -- and youth, in the shape of strikers Mario Balotelli and Stephan El-Shaarawy.

Sau, a striker, is rewarded for a solid season with his Sardinian club, for whom he has scored 12 goals in 29 appearances so far.

Making their return to the squad are Alberto Aquilani, who was absent from the friendly against England last August but who has been solid for Fiorentina this season on their way to a possible third-place finish in Serie A.

Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna, who last played for Italy when they escaped from Sofia with a barely-deserved 2-2 draw against Bulgaria last September, also returns to the squad.

Prandelli, meanwhile, is expected to announce his 23-man squad for the Confederations Cup, to be held in Brazil on June 15-30, on June 3.

Italy squad to play San Marino and Czech Republic:

Goalkeepers: Michael Agazzi (Cagliari), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St. Germain)

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (Milan), Luca Antonelli (Genoa), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter)

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Giacomo Bonaventura (Atalanta), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Andrea Poli (Sampdoria);

Strikers: Mario Balotelli (Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Milan), Alberto Gilardino (Bologna), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Pablo Osvaldo (Roma), Marco Sau (Cagliari).

Source: AFP