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Cerci handed first Italy call up

Torino winger Alessio Cerci has been named by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli in a 27-man squad to face Brazil and Malta.

Cerci is selected alongside the returning duo of Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio and Genoa left-back Luca Antonelli as the Azzurri prepare to face Brazil in a friendly match in Geneva on Thursday before visiting Malta for a World Cup qualifier on March 26.

Cerci, 25, represented Italy at Under-21 level six times and could earn his first senior cap after contributing five goals and dominating the creative play on Torino’s return to Serie A.

Rossoneri youth-team graduate De Sciglio, 20, was an unused substitute against England in August and is promoted from Devis Mangia’s Under-21 set-up once again thanks to a series of resolute displays for Milan.

Antonelli was last named in an Italy squad in 2010 and receives a fresh call-up in recognition of his solid performances in Genoa’s battle against relegation.

The squad
Goalkeeepers: Buffon (Juventus), De Sanctis (Napoli), Marchetti (Lazio), Sirigu (Paris St Germain).

Defenders: Abate (Milan), Antonelli (Genoa), Astori (Cagliari), Barzagli (Juventus), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), De Sciglio (Milan), Maggio (Napoli), Ranocchia (Inter ).

Midfielders: Candreva (Lazio), Cerci (Torino), De Rossi (Roma), Diamanti (Bologna), Giaccherini (Juventus), Marchisio (Juventus), Montolivo (Milan), Pirlo (Juventus), Poli (Sampdoria).

Strikers: Balotelli (Milan), El Shaarawy (Milan), Gilardino (Bologna), Giovinco (Juventus), Osvaldo (Roma).

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