3 Sep 2012

Balotelli and Cassano out of Italy squad

2:06 pm on 3 September 2012

Italy will be without both first-choice Euro 2012 strikers for this month's World Cup qualifiers after Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli were omitted from the squad named on Sunday.

On the other hand, forward Giampaolo Pazzini was recalled, one day after he scored a hat-trick for his new club AC Milan in a 3-1 win at Bologna.

Balotelli's club Manchester City said on Saturday that he would undergo surgery on a minor eye condition.

There was a call-up for uncapped Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne who spent last season in Serie B with Pescara, helping them win promotion, and has performed impressively with the Under-21 team.

Italy visit Bulgaria on Friday and host Malta four days later as they kick off their qualifying campaign for the 2014 finals in Brazil.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St. Germain), Emiliano Viviano (Fiorentina);

Defenders: Davide Astori (Cagliari), Federico Balzaretti (Roma), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Mattia Cassani (Fiorentina), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino);

Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Antonio Nocerino (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Andrea Poli (Sampdoria), Marco Verratti (Paris St. Germain);

Forwards: Marco Borini (Liverpool), Mattia Destro (Roma), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pablo Osvaldo (Roma), Giampaolo Pazzini (Milan).