Criscito, Parolo called up for Italy friendlies
11 November 2013, 18:08
Milan - Zenit Saint Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito is among the few fresh faces in Italy's squad announced by Cesare Prandelli for upcoming friendlies against Germany and Nigeria.
Criscito makes the Azzurri squad for the first time since October 2012, although months earlier he was excluded, prior to Euro 2012, for his alleged role in the 'Calcioscommesse' match-fixing affair.
Criscito faced no charges and was later cleared of any wrong-doing. His call-up comes in the absence of Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini due to injury.
Italy, who qualified for next year's World Cup in Brazil with two games two spare, will also be without injured Paris Saint Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.
Prandelli has called up Parma's Marco Parolo for only the second time, the midfielder having made the squad for a friendly against Ukraine in March 2011.
Italy host Germany, who sit one place behind World Cup champions Spain at the top of FIFA's rankings, in Milan Friday and then travel to London where the Azzurri will meet Nigeria at Fulham's Craven Cottage stadium next Monday.
Italy's 28-man squad for upcoming friendlies:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (PSG/FRA)
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (AS Roma), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St Petersbourg/RUS)
Midfielders: Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland/ENG), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Andrea Poli (AC Milan)
Strikers: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Alberto Gilardino (Genoa), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton/ENG), Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina).