Giovinco back in Italy squad after 3-year absence
GENOA, Italy (AP) — Sebastian Giovinco is back in the Italy squad after an absence of nearly three years, but Mario Balotelli has been left out.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini included the 31-year-old Toronto FC forward in the 28-man squad he named Friday for upcoming matches against Ukraine and Poland.
Giovinco, who has scored one goal in 23 appearances for Italy, last played for his country on Oct. 15, 2015.
There was also a recall for Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi, who made the last of his two appearances for Italy in March 2016, while Sampdoria forward Gianluca Caprari was given a first call up to the national team.
Balotelli was called up by Mancini for his past two squads and played his first matches for Italy since the 2014 World Cup. However, the 28-year-old Balotelli has been out of form and was dropped by Nice coach Patrick Vieira for Friday’s match at Toulouse.
Italy plays Ukraine in a friendly on Oct. 10 in Genoa before travelling to Chorzow to play Poland in the UEFA Nations League four days later.
The Azzurri drew with Poland and lost to Portugal in their opening Nations League matches last month.
The team will also pay tribute to the victims of the Morandi bridge disaster, which left 43 people dead after the highway bridge collapsed in Genoa.
Mancini and his squad will visit the site of the disaster and meet people affected by it.
The match will be halted for 30 seconds in the 43rd minute of the first half to remember the tragedy, while there will also be a tribute on the players’ shirts. People who were displaced will be invited to the game.
The Italian soccer federation is also paying for the schooling of nine children who were orphaned by the disaster.
Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter Milan), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan)
Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Cagliari), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Giacomo Bonaventura (AC Milan), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter Milan), Jorginho (Chelsea), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)
Forwards: Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Gianluca Caprari (Sampdoria), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Simone Zaza (Torino)