Cerci is selected alongside the returning duo of AC Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio and Genoa left-back Luca Antonelli as the Azzurri prepare to face Brazil in a friendly match in Geneva on Thursday before visiting Malta for a FIFA World Cup™ qualifier on 26 March.
Cerci, 25, represented Italy at U-21 level six times and could earn his first senior cap after contributing five goals and dominating the creative play on Torino’s return to Serie A. Rossoneri youth-team graduate De Sciglio, 20, was an unused substitute against England in August and is promoted from Devis Mangia‘s U-21 set-up once again thanks to a series of resolute displays for Milan.
Twenty-six-year-old Antonelli was last named in an Italy squad in 2010 and receives a fresh call-up in recognition of his solid performances in Genoa’s battle against relegation. Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is excluded, however, after picking up an injury while playing for the Ligue 1 leaders but there are no other notable absentees.
Italy squad to face Brazil and Malta:
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), De Sanctis (Napoli), Marchetti (Lazio), Sirigu (Paris St Germain)
Defenders: Abate, De Sciglio (both AC Milan), Antonelli (Genoa), Astori (Cagliari), Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini (all Juventus), Maggio (Napoli), Ranocchia (Inter Milan)
Midfielders: Candreva (Lazio), Cerci (Torino), De Rossi (Roma), Diamanti (Bologna), Giaccherini, Marchisio, Pirlo (all Juventus), Montolivo (AC Milan), Poli (Sampdoria)
Forwards: Balotelli, El Shaarawy (both AC Milan), Gilardino (Bologna), Giovinco (Juventus), Osvaldo (Roma).
- Marchetti returns to Azzuri fold (soccerway.com)