Meret, D’Ambrosio, Spinazzola and Verdi given first senior call-ups

Meret, D’Ambrosio, Spinazzola and Verdi given first senior call-ups

SPAL goalkeeper Alex Meret, Atalanta’s Leonardo Spinazzola and Inter’s Danilo D’Ambrosio are among the new faces as Gian Piero Ventura has confirmed his 25-man squad for the next two Italy fixtures. On Friday 24th Match the Azzurri face Albania in Palermo in a World Cup Qualifier and on Tuesday 28th the Netherlands will be the opponent in Amsterdam in a friendly. Both matches kick off at 20:45 CEST.

Following the initial announcement, Sassuolo’s Matteo Politano and Bologna’s Simone Verdi have been called up after Ventura was informed that Federico Bernardeschi picked up a fitness issue this morning.

The team will gather tomorrow on Sunday 19th March at Coverciano. They arrive in Palermo the day before the match before returning to Florence afterwards, from where they will head on to the Netherlands the day before that match.
 
There is a lot of excitement surrounding Italy vs. Albania at the Stadio Renzo Barbera (following Italy’s 1-0 win in 2014, this will be only the second encounter between the two teams), in what will be the fifth round of European qualifiers in Group G. Meanwhile, Spain (joint-leading the group with Italy on 10 points) will take on Israel, who are positioned in third place and are three points ahead of Albania.
 
The Azzurri have a positive record in Palermo (13 games played, 11 wins, one draw and only one defeat, which was in 1994 against Croatia). They have recently won five consecutive games in Palermo, starting with a 2-1 win over Norway in 2004 and the most recent coming against Bulgaria in 2015 (1-0). For Italy this encounter will mean another record to defend, as during World Cup qualifying they are still unbeaten at home. In 50 matches played from 1934 to 2013 on home soil, they have recorded 43 victories and seven draws (when playing away they’ve featured 51 times, recording 27 victories, 17 draws and seven defeats). Including all qualifying matches for the World Cup and European Championship, Italy are unbeaten in their last 54 games (their last defeat coming against France in September 2006).
 
Squad
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Spal 2013);
Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Alessio Romagnoli (Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Leonardo Spinazzola (Atalanta), Davide Zappacosta (Torino);
Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain);
Wingers: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Inter), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Matteo Politano (Sassuolo), Nicola Sansone (Villarreal), Simone Verdi (Bologna);
Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Eder Citadin Martins (Inter), Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton), Ciro Immobile (Lazio).
Staff – Coach: Gian Piero Ventura; Team Manager: Gabriele Oriali; Coaches: Salvatore Sullo, Paolo Vanoli and Gianluca Spinelli; Secretary: Mauro Vladovich; Fitness Coaches: Alessandro Innocenti and Giovanni Brignardello; Doctors: Enrico Castellacci and Carmine Costabile; Masseurs: Fabrizio Scalzi, Emanuele Randelli, Alfonso Casano, Pasquale Raia, Walter Martinelli (osteopath).
 
Schedule
Sunday 19 March
Squad gathering at Coverciano

Monday 20 March
h.  13.45  ca  Coach’s press conference
h.  15.30        Training (First 15 minutes open to the media)

Tuesday 21 March
h.  10.30      Training (behind closed doors)
h.  13.30  ca  Meeting with the media (players)
h.  15.30      Training (First 15 minutes open to the media)

Wednesday 22 March
h.  10.30      Training (behind closed doors)
h.  13.30  ca Meeting with the media (players)
h.  15.30      Training (First 15 minutes open to the media)

Thursday 23 March 
h.  10.30      Training (First 15 minutes open to the media)
h.   16.00       Departing flight to Palermo from Florence
h.  17.25        Arrive in Palermo and transfer to the stadium
h.  17.45        Walk Around
h.  18.00        Italy press conference(Coach and one player)
h.  18.45        Albania press conference (Coach and one player)
h.  19.30      Albania Training (First 15 minutes open to the media)

Friday 24 March
h.  20.45      QUALIFYING GAME FOR THE 2018 WORLD CUP ITALY-ALBANIA
Meeting the media after the game

Saturday 25 March
h.  11.00        Departing flight for Florence
h.  12.25        Arrive in Florence and transfer to Coverciano
h.  16.00      Training (First 15 minutes open to the media)

Sunday 26 March
h.  10.30      Training (behind closed doors)
h.  13.30 ca   Meeting the media (players)
h.  16.00      Training (First 15 minutes open to the media)

Monday 27 March
h.  10.30      Training (behind closed doors)
h.  16.30        Flight from Florence to Amsterdam
h.  18.50       Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to stadium
h.  19.15        Walk Around
h.  19.30        Press conference (Coach and one player)

The Netherlands' team schedule
h 12.15         Training session at the AZ Alkmaar Stadium in Alkmaar (first 15 minutes open to media)
                      Press conference to follow (Coach and one player) 

Tuesday 28 March
h.  20.45    FRIENDLY GAME THE NETHERLANDS-ITALY

After meeting the press, the team will go to the airport and return to Italy

N.B. Media outlets are advised that the accreditation process for Italy vs. Albania (European Qualifier, Palermo, 24th March, 20:45 CEST) and Netherlands vs. Italy (Friendly, Amsterdam, 28th March, 20:45 CEST) will be available from Monday 13th February to 12:00 CEST Monday 13th March 2017. Accreditation is essential if you are to gain access to press conferences, training sessions and the games.
 

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