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Italy aim to hold off Slovenia challenge

Published: Wednesday 23 March 2011, 17.15CET
Group C leaders Italy are missing Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli for their trip to nearest rivals Slovenia, while Serbia begin life without Danko Lazović when qualifying resumes.
Italy aim to hold off Slovenia challenge
Cesare Prandelli has called up Cesena's Marco Parolo for the first time ©Getty Images
 
Published: Wednesday 23 March 2011, 17.15CET

Italy aim to hold off Slovenia challenge

Group C leaders Italy are missing Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli for their trip to nearest rivals Slovenia, while Serbia begin life without Danko Lazović when qualifying resumes.

Slovenia can close the three-point gap to UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group C leaders Italy when the pair meet in Ljubljana, while Northern Ireland, Estonia and Serbia are all aiming to keep in touch. The Faroe Islands, bottom with one point, return to action on 3 June. UEFA.com rounds up the team news.

25 March: Serbia v Northern Ireland, Slovenia v Italy
29 March: Estonia v Serbia, Northern Ireland v Slovenia

Latest standings

Italy
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi and forward Mario Balotelli have been omitted from the squad for disciplinary reasons, while Marco Parolo's impressive showings for AC Cesena have been rewarded with an international call-up. Sao Paolo-born FC Internazionale Milano midfielder Thiago Motta has also been named in the squad after making his Azzurri debut in a friendly against Germany last month.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (US Città di Palermo), Emiliano Viviano (Bologna FC).

Defenders: Davide Astori (Cagliari Calcio), Federico Balzaretti (US Città di Palermo), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa CFC), Daniele Gastaldello (UC Sampdoria), Christian Maggio (SSC Napoli), Andrea Ranocchia (FC Internazionale Milano), Davide Santon (AC Cesena).

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Stefano Mauri (S.S. Lazio), Riccardo Montolivo (ACF Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (FC Internazionale Milano), Antonio Nocerino (US Città di Palermo), Marco Parolo (AC Cesena).

Forwards: Antonio Cassano (AC Milan), Alberto Gilardino (ACF Fiorentina), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma FC), Alessandro Matri (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (FC Internazionale Milano), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal CF).

Slovenia
There are no newcomers in Matjaž Kek's selection, with the coach explaining: "Our next matches are extremely important in such an even group, so there are only tried and tested players on my list." Slovenia's main concerns are that defender Boštjan Cesar is recovering from a broken nose, while forward Tim Matavž is also carrying an injury.

Goalkeepers: Samir Handanovič (Udinese Calcio), Jasmin Handanovič (Empoli FC), Vid Belec (FC Crotone).

Defenders: Siniša Andjelkovič (US Città di Palermo), Mišo Brečko (1. FC Köln), Boštjan Cesar (AC Chievo Verona), Branko Ilič (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Bojan Jokić (AC Chievo Verona), Matej Mavrič (Kapfenberger SV), Marko Šuler (KAA Gent), Mitja Viler (NK Maribor).

Midfielders: Armin Bačinovič (US Città di Palermo), Valter Birsa (AJ Auxerre), Josip Iličič (US Citta di Palermo), Andraž Kirm (Wisła Kraków), Robert Koren (Hull City AFC), Nejc Pečnik (FC Krylya Sovetov Samara), Aleksander Radosavljevič (ADO Den Haag), Goran Šukalo (MSV Duisburg), Dare Vršič (NK Olimpija Ljubljana)*.

Forwards: Zlatko Dedič (VfL Bochum 1848), Zlatan Ljubijankič (KAA Gent), Milivoje Novakovič (1. FC Köln), Tim Matavž (FC Groningen).

Estonia
Estonia welcome back Wisła Kraków goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko for their friendly against Uruguay in Tallinn on Friday and the qualifier against Serbia four days later. Not included, on the other hand, is FC Karpaty Lviv forward Sergei Zenjov, who is recovering from a groin injury. Captain Raio Piiroja could win his 100th cap against Uruguay, meanwhile.

Goalkeepers: Sergei Pareiko (Wisła Kraków), Pavel Londak (Bucaspor), Artur Kotenko (AEP Paphos FC).

Defenders: Enar Jääger (Aalesunds FK), Raio Piiroja (Fredrikstad FK), Alo Bärengrub (JK Nõmme Kalju), Tihhon Šišov (Xäzär Länkäran FK), Taavi Rähn (FC Baltika Kaliningrad), Dmitri Kruglov (İnter Bakı PİK), Gert Kams (FC Flora Tallinn), Igor Morozov (FC Levadia Tallinn), Andrei Sidorenkov (SønderjyskE), Ragnar Klavan (AZ Alkmaar).

Midfielders: Aleksandr Dmitrijev (FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast), Sander Puri (Korona Kielce), Konstantin Vassiljev (FC Koper), Ats Purje (AEP Paphos FC), Martin Vunk (Syrianska FC), Tarmo Kink (Middlesbrough FC).

Forwards: Andres Oper (AEK Larnaca FC), Kaimar Saag (Silkeborg IF), Vjatšeslav Zahovaiko (UD Leiria), Jarmo Ahjupera (Újpest FC).

Northern Ireland
Maik Taylor is out with a shoulder injury and former England Under-21 goalkeeper Lee Camp has earned his first call-up, with manager Nigel Worthington saying: "I've watched him a few times playing for his club and I've been very, very impressed." Striker Liam Boyce and defender Adam Thompson feature again after making their debuts in last month's 3-0 reverse against Scotland.

Goalkeepers: Maik Taylor (Birmingham City FC), Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest FC), Jonathan Tuffey (Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC), Alan Blayney (Linfield FC)*.

Defenders: Jonathan Evans (Manchester United FC), Stephen Craigan (Motherwell FC), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool FC), Gareth McAuley (Ipswich Town FC), Aaron Hughes (Fulham FC), Lee Hodson (Watford FC), Adam Thompson (Watford FC).

Midfielders: Chris Baird (Fulham FC), Grant McCann (Peterborough United FC), Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion FC), Jonny Gorman (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Corry Evans (Manchester United FC), Steven Davis (Rangers FC), Niall McGinn (Celtic FC), Sammy Clingan (Coventry City FC), Pat McCourt (Celtic FC).

Forwards: David Healy (Rangers FC), Warren Feeney (Oldham Athletic FC), Kyle Lafferty (Rangers FC), Liam Boyce (SV Werder Bremen), Josh McQuoid (Millwall FC)**.

Serbia
With injuries and potential suspensions looming large, Vladimir Petrović has named a 27-man squad. OFK Beograd goalkeeper Bojan Šaranov and FK Vojvodina forward Brana Ilić receive first call-ups, but there is no Danko Lazović after the FC Zenit St Petersburg forward announced his international retirement on 18 March. Dragan Mrdja is out with a knee injury and six players are a yellow card away from a ban.

Goalkeepers: Bojan Jorgačević (KAA Gent), Željko Brkić (FK Vojvodina), Bojan Šaranov (OFK Beograd).

Defenders: Branislav Ivanović (Chelsea FC), Pavle Ninkov (FK Crvena zvezda), Nenad Tomović (US Lecce), Milan Biševac (Valenciennes FC), Nemanja Vidić (Manchester United FC), Neven Subotić (Borussia Dortmund), Slobodan Rajković (Vitesse), Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City FC), Ivan Obradović (Real Zaragoza).

Midfielders: Dejan Stanković (FC Internazionale Milano), Nenad Milijaš (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Zdravko Kuzmanović (VfB Stuttgart), Radosav Petrović (FK Partizan), Veseljko Trivunović (OFK Beograd), Miloš Ninković (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Miloš Krasić (Juventus), Marko Mirić (FK Spartak Zlatibor voda), Zoran Tošić (PFC CSKA Moskva), Adem Ljajić (ACF Fiorentina), Miralem Sulejmani (AFC Ajax).

Forwards: Marko Pantelić (Olympiacos FC), Nikola Žigić (Birmingham City FC), Milan Jovanović (Liverpool FC), Brana Ilić (FK Vojvodina).

Players in italics have withdrawn.
*Denotes replacement player/late addition.
**Denotes player addition after first qualifier.

Last updated: 28/03/11 9.32CET

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