Del Piero axed by Azzurri
By Nadia Carminati
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero has been dropped by Italy.Roma's Antonio Cassano has been named in the latest Italian squad at the expense of Alessandro Del Piero.
It is the first time Cassano has been called up Marcello Lippi, since he took-over from Giovanni Trapattoni following Euro 2004.
Del Piero's failure to hold down a regular place for has seen him left out by his former mentor.
Cassano is one of three Roma strikers included, along with Francesco Totti and Vincenzo Montella - who are joined by Christian Vieiri.
However, it emerged on Sunday that Cassano injured his knee in his side's 1-1 draw with Bologna and he is now a real doubt.
Lippi has also handed first call-ups to Udinese's highly-rated goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis and Andrea Barzagli of Palermo.
The Azzurri face Russia in Cagliari on Wednesday.
Squad in full:
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Udinese), Giorgio Chiellini (Fiorentina), Fabio Cannavaro (Internazionale), Marco Materazzi (Internazionale), Alessandro Nesta (Milan), Giuseppe Pancaro (Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Palermo), Cristian Zaccardo (Palermo), Daniele Bonera (Parma), Mauro Esposito (Cagliari), Manuele Blasi (Juventus), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Simone Barone (Palermo), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Aimo Diana (Sampdoria), Christian Vieri (Internazionale), Alberto Gilardino (Parma), Antonio Cassano (Roma), Vincenzo Montella (Roma), Francesco Totti (Roma)