No surprises in Italy squad for final World Cup qualifiers

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura, left, celebrates his side's 1-0 win, at the end of the World Cup Group G qualifying soccer match between Italy and Israel at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (Luca Bruno/AP)

MILAN — There were no surprises in the 25-man Italy squad announced on Saturday for its final World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Albania.

Bologna winger Simone Verdi received a second call up, after making his debut in March a friendly against the Netherlands.

There was still no space for Nice forward Mario Balotelli despite him scoring five goals in his past five matches for the French club.

Italy hosts Macedonia in Turin on Friday before travelling to Tirana for its final World Cup qualifier against Albania three days later.

Italy is second in Europe Group G, three points behind Spain. It needs one point from its final two qualifying matches to secure second spot and a playoff place for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.



Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa)

Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter Milan), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Leonardo Spinazzola (Atalanta), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)

Forwards: Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Antonio Candreva (Inter Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Eder Citadin Martins (Inter Milan), Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton), Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

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