Pirlo and Balotelli missing as Conte finetunes Italy squad

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Pirlo and Balotelli missing as Conte finetunes Italy squad
Antonio Conte has cut cut several Euro 2016 hopefuls from a preliminary squad. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell/AFP

Italy coach Antonio Conte cut several Euro 2016 hopefuls from a preliminary squad on Monday as he unveiled a 30-man squad for the Azzurri's second pre-competition training camp.


Italy will head to the June 10th-July 10th tournament in France looking to reach a second successive final but facing a formidable challenge after failing to get past the first round at the past two editions of the World Cup.

New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo and AC Milan's on-loan Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli were among the big names missing when Conte named his preliminary squad last week for a first training camp following the conclusion of Serie A and many other leagues around Europe.

Chances of Mario Balotelli featuring in the final line-up are slim. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

It now looks certain that neither player will feature at Euro 2016, where Italy will also be without key midfielder Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain) and Claudio Marchisio (Juventus) through injury.

Conte's squad last week also did not include players from Juventus, AC Milan and other teams who were involved in Cup finals last weekend and they have all returned to the fray.

Juventus players - goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, defenders Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele Rugani - notably return, alongside AC Milan midfielders Giacomo Bonaventura and Riccardo Montolivo.

It meant defenders Armando Izzo (Genoa) and Lorenzo Tonelli (Empoli) were cut, the second piece of bad new for Izzo on Monday after he was questioned by police in relation to his alleged role in a match-fixing affair dating from his spell at Serie B side Avellino in 2014.

Meanwhile, Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian, following FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace at the weekend, returns to the fray alongside PSG midfielder Thiago Motta.

A statement from the Italian football federation said Conte, who will take over at Premier League giants Chelsea after the summer, will name his final 23-man squad for Euro 2016 on May 31st.

Italy host Scotland in a pre-tournament friendly in Malta on Sunday, and then host Finland on June 6th in Verona.

Italy squad for second Euro 2016 training camp:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)

Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham/ENG), Daniele Rugani (Juventus)

Midfielders: Marco Benassi (Torino), Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Jorge Luiz Jorginho (Napoli), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint Germain/FRA), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus), Davide Zappacosta (Torino)

Forwards: Citadin Martins Eder (Inter Milan), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton/ENG), Simone Zaza (Juventus)


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