Italy coach Antonio Conte leaves Giovinco, Pirlo off Euro 2016 roster | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Italy coach Antonio Conte leaves Giovinco, Pirlo off Euro 2016 roster

FILE -- In this July 1, 2012 file photo, Italy's Mario Balotelli, center and Spain's Jordi Alba fight for the ball during the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine. Four years after his goals propelled Italy into the European Championship final, Mario Balotelli won't even get a chance to play in this year's tournament. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
May 23, 2016 - 9:57 AM

ROME - Toronto FC star forward Sebastian Giovinco has been left off Italy coach Antonio Conte's preliminary 30-man squad for Euro 2016.

There is also no place for 37-year-old midfielder Andrea Pirlo, another Major League Soccer star.

Conte chose forwards Eder and Graziano Pelle, the likely starters, plus Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Simone Zaza.

Forward Mario Balotelli was also left out Monday. On loan from Liverpool, Balotelli scored only one goal in 20 Serie A appearances for AC Milan this season. Another notable absence was Giuseppe Rossi, the injury-plagued American-born forward who finished the season on loan at Levante.

The squad will gather Tuesday. Conte will announce his final 23-man squad on May 31.

Italy is in Group E — one of the toughest of the tournament — with Belgium, Ireland and Sweden.

Giovinco, who has been rewriting the Toronto FC and MLS record book since arriving from Juventus in early 2015, will be a spectator unless injuries force Conte's hand or he has a sudden change of heart.

While Conte gave no immediate explanation of his squad choices — which were issued with a press release — he has said numerous times that he would rely on "the group that got us here."

"Whoever wants to join in will have to deserve it twice as much, and will have to work much harder to take the place of those that are here," Conte said late last year.

Conte's decision will make life easier for Toronto, which has already lost striker Jozy Altidore for six to eight weeks due to a hamstring injury. But it does little for the reputation of Major League Soccer when its shining star is left out of the European soccer showcase

The 29-year-old Giovinco, who has one goal and 23 caps for Italy, has been directly involved in 13 of Toronto's 14 goals this season — scoring eight and setting up five.

He has 30 goals and 21 assists in 43 MLS games, winning the Golden Boot last year as the league's top scorer.

Injured midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti were also not included. Midfielders Riccardo Montolivo and Thiago Motta were put on the team but the announcement said that their medical conditions "need to be verified."

Defender Armando Izzo, who was placed under investigation for match-fixing earlier Monday, was dropped after being included in a preliminary training camp last week.

Also, 19-year-old goalkeeper Alex Meret will train with the squad.

The European Championship runs June 10 to July 10. MLS is taking a break from June 3-17 to help accommodate the Euros and Copa America.

Italy squad

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint Germain);

Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Obinze Ogbonna (West Ham), Daniele Rugani (Juventus);

Wingers: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Davide Zappacosta (Torino);

Midfielders: Marco Benassi (Torino), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Jorge Luiz Jorginho (Napoli), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus);

Forwards: Citadin Martins Eder (Inter), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus).


With files from The Associated Press

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
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