Giovinco recalled to Italy squad, 1 of 9 foreign-based players for Euro 2016 qualifiers



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MILAN — Antonio Conte recalled Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco to the Italy squad on Saturday for the upcoming European Champions qualifiers against Bulgaria and Malta.

Giovinco, who has scored 17 goals and set up another 12 since moving to Major League Soccer from Juventus, is one of nine foreign-based players in the 28-man squad.

The 28-year-old has won 21 caps for Italy but hasn't played for his country since a friendly match against Albania last November.

The other foreign-based players are New York City FC playmaker Andrea Pirlo, Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian, Paris Saint-Germain players Salvatore Sirigu and Marco Verratti, and forwards Stephan El Shaarawy, Ciro Immobile and Graziano Pelle, who play for Monaco, Sevilla and Southampton.

There was also a recall for Zenit St. Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito.

There is still no place for Mario Balotelli, who recently returned to AC Milan following a disappointing season at Liverpool. Balotelli hasn't played for Italy since Conte took over from Cesare Prandelli after last year's dismal World Cup.

Italy hosts Malta in Florence on Thursday before playing Bulgaria in Palermo three days later.

Conte's team is second in Group H, a point behind Croatia and two ahead of Norway.


Italy squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Daniele Padelli (Torino), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Sassuolo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St. Petersburg), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan).

Midfielders: Andrea Bertolacci (AC Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC), Roberto Soriano (Sampdoria), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain).

Forwards: Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Eder (Sampdoria), Stephan El Shaarawy (Monaco), Manolo Gabbiadini (Napoli), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto), Ciro Immobile (Sevilla), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Franco Vazquez (Palermo), Simone Zaza (Juventus).

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