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Under 21 Italy's coach Claudio Gentile named the 24 players who are going to play the final tournament of the U21 European Championship (May 16-28, in Switzerland.

Federico Agliardi (Brescia),
Gianpaolo Bellini (Atalanta),
Manuele Blasi (Perugia),
Emiliano Bonazzoli (Parma),
Daniele Bonera (Brescia),
Matteo Brighi (Bologna),
Paolo Cannavaro (Verona),
Andrea Caracciolo (Brescia),
Paolo Castellini (Torino),
Dario Dainelli (Verona),
Massimo Donati (AC Milan),
Matteo Ferrari (Parma),
Fabio Gatti (Perugia),
Alberto Gilardino (Verona),
Roberto Guana (Brescia),
Vincenzo Iaquinta (Udinese),
Stefano Lucchini (Ternana),
Massimo Maccarone (Empoli),
Marco Marchionni (Parma),
Cesare Natali (Atalanta),
Ivan Pellizzoli (AS Roma),
Giampiero Pinzi (Udinese),
Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan),
Generoso Rossi (Venezia).

The rally is scheduled for May 6 at the Sportilia federal sports center. (ANSA).

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Gentile defends Cassano omission Friday 3 May, 2002


Claudio Gentile maintains that his decision to leave Antonio Cassano out of the Under-21 European Championships is a tactical one.

The pair have had an uneasy relationship in the last 18 months when the Coach has dropped the Roma starlet on a number of occasions after doubts were raised about his temperament and disruptive behaviour.

"I’ve not closed the door on Cassano and he knows it. I wanted to stay loyal to the group of players that took the side to the Finals themselves. Players that have achieved important and sometimes surprising results," said Gentile.

"But Antonio will return to the international fold in the next cycle of the U-21 era from the start of next season. And hopefully he will be the star man."

The former Juventus stopper added: "Unfortunately I didn’t have Cassano at my disposal for much of the qualifying campaign. Another factor is that I see him more as a second striker rather than a No 10.

"In the latter position I have Andrea Pirlo who is one of the best players around at the moment. While in attack the first choice pair is Emiliano Bonazzoli and Massimo Maccarone."

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