ROME (NWN) – Torino midfielder Tommaso Pobega was called up to Italy’s squad for the first time on Friday for the deciding World Cup qualifiers against Switzerland and Northern Ireland.
Coach Roberto Mancini named 28 players for the two qualifiers, against Switzerland in Rome on 12 November and Northern Ireland in Belfast on 15 November.
AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali received his first call-up in over a year after general starter Marco Verratti was injured.
Italy and Switzerland each have 14 points in Group C, with only the first-place finishers getting a direct spot at next year’s tournament in Qatar. The second-place finisher goes to the playoffs.
Bulgaria is third in the group with eight points, Northern Ireland has five and Lithuania has three.
Italy defeated Switzerland 3–0 in the group stage of the European Championship in June before going on to claim the title. The teams drew 0–0 in Basel in September.
Center forwards Ciro Immobil and Andrea Belotti returned to the team with injuries, which resulted in the release of Moise Kean.
Pobega, 22, who is on loan from AC Milan, was a key member of Italy’s under-21 squad.
Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Genoa).
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), David Calabria (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmeri ( Lyon), Gianluca Mancini (Roma).
Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Brian Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Manuel Locatelli (Juventus), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Tommaso Pobega (Torino), Sandro Tonali (AC Milan), Niccol Zaniolo (Roma) .
Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sasuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Ciro Immobil (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sasuolo).
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