Italy vs USA

Prandelli axes Balotelli

February 26, 2012

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has dropped Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli for Wednesday's friendly against United States in Genoa.

GettyImagesMario Balotelli had been axed from the Italy squad for breaching Cesare Prandelli's code of ethics

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Prandelli, who is still without the services of injured strikers Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi, has instead named Roma's Fabio Borini in his 23-man squad for the Stadio Luigi Ferraris encounter.

Earlier reports had suggested Balotelli would be left out after receiving a four-match ban for a stamp on Tottenham's Scott Parker while representing his club.

The call-up is the first for the 20-year-old Borini, who has been solid with six goals in 14 Serie A appearances for Roma this season, while Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano returns to the national team after a long injury absence.

Italy squad: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St Germain), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo; Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Federico Balzaretti (Palermo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St Petersburg), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino); Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Inter Milan), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus); Fabio Borini (Roma), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma), Alessandro Matri (Juventus) Giampaolo Pazzini (Inter Milan).