Mancini Names Extra-Large Italy Squad for World Cup Playoffs

Roberto Mancini has announced a 33-man team for the upcoming World Cup playoffs. As expected, the Azzurri coach picked Joao Pedro over Mario Balotelli to fill out the attack. He called up a deep roster to better deal with illnesses, fatigue, and bruises.

The other notable exclusions are Moise Kean up front and Alessio Romagnoli and Davide Calabria in the back. The coach selected Francesco Acerbi, Gianluca Mancini, and Luiz Felipe, the other oriundo that could make his Italy debut in the next couple of games. Leonardo Bonucci is present even though he has not played in a while for Juventus. The same goes for Giorgio Chiellini, who was on the bench versus Villarreal.

Mancini listed Manuel Locatelli in the squad for the World Cup playoffs, hoping he will clear the COVID-19 protocol in time. Lorenzo Pellegrini and Sandro Tonali also came down with illnesses late in the week, Sky Sport informs. They have tested negative for Coronavirus, at least so far.

Matteo Politano, Stefano Sensi, and Pierluigi Gollini are returning to the national team after a while. Mattia Zaccagni earned the call-up through his strong performances with Lazio. Further additions compared to the team that won Euro 2020 are Nicolò Zaniolo and Gianluca Scamacca, who could have pivotal roles. The Roma starlet will de facto fill in for the injured Federico Chiesa. Cristiano Biraghi is taking Leonardo Spinazzola’s spot at left-back. Italy will host North Macedonia in Palermo next Thursday and eventually travel to Portugal or Turkey next Sunday.