MILAN (AP) — Torino winger Alessio Cerci has been given a debut Italy call-up for the friendly against Brazil and World Cup qualifier against Malta, while Mattia De Sciglio and Luca Antonelli were also included in the 27-man squad on Sunday.
Cerci has represented Italy at all youth levels but the 25-year-old has never been part of the senior squad. Genoa defender Antonelli has played twice for Italy, with both of those appearance coming in September 2010, while the 20-year-old De Sciglio was an unused substitute in the friendly against England in August.
Sampdoria midfielder Andrea Poli made his debut in that 2-1 defeat and he has also been included. Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is injured. Roma pair Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Daniele De Rossi will only be available for the Brazil match as both are suspended for the Malta qualifier.
Milan strike partners Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli remain in the squad. Balotelli scored both goals in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Palermo to take his tally to seven goals in six games since his transfer from Manchester City. Inter Milan forward Antonio Cassano has again been left out.
Italy plays Brazil in Geneva on Thursday, before travelling to Malta for the qualifier five days later. Cesare Prandelli's team tops its World Cup qualifying group with 10 points from four games. Bulgaria is second with six.
Italy beat Malta 2-0 in Modena in September. The squad will convene at the Coverciano training ground, on the outskirts of Florence, on Monday. __ Italy Squad: Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint Germain);
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Luca Antonelli (Genoa), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan).
Midfielders: Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Andrea Poli (Sampdoria).
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan), Alberto Gilardino (Bologna), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (Roma).