Italy squad named for World Cup Group 8 showdown
Marcello Lippi, coach of the Italy national team, has named a 24-man squad for their final FIFA World Cup Group Eight qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland this Saturday in Croke Park (8pm) and at home to Cyprus on October 14.
Group leaders Italy currently lead second-placed Ireland by four points, meaning a draw in Dublin would suffice for them to qualify automatically for the finals tournament in South Africa.
AC Milan Gennaro Gattuso returns to the squad, having missed the victories over Georgia and Bulgaria last month due to an ankle injury.
Italian skipper Fabio Cannavaro is included but sits out the first game against Ireland because of suspension. He is one of eight players in the panel from Juventus, who slipped to a surprise 2-0 in Serie A defeat to Palermo on Sunday night.
Italy squad: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari); Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina), Fabio Grosso (Juventus), Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus), Davide Santon (Inter), Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan); Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Gaetano D'Agostino (Udinese), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Andrea Pirlo (Milan); Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal).