Cassano, Balotelli back in Italy fold
The AC Milan forward, who underwent minor heart surgery last year and missed six months before recently returning to action, was included in Cesare Prandelli's preliminary 32-man group tonight.
Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale was selected for the first time by Prandelli after a superb campaign which saw him finish as the leading Italian scorer in Serie A. Di Natale had not featured for the Azzurri since the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, who today captured the Premier League title, joins Cassano and Di Natale in the squad.
Prandelli has also brought in four uncapped players to his selection: Siena striker Mattia Destro, Juventus midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini, Atalanta winger Ezequiel Schelotto and Pescara playmaker Marco Verratti. Prandelli will announce his final 23-man squad on 29 May.
Provisional Italy squad:
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), De Sanctis (Napoli), Sirigu (Paris St Germain), Viviano (Palermo)
Defenders: Abate (AC Milan), Astori (Cagliari), Balzaretti (Palermo), Barzagli (Juventus), Bocchetti (Rubin Kazan), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), Criscito (Zenit St Petersburg), Maggio (Napoli), Ogbonna (Torino), Ranocchia (Inter Milan)
Midfielders: Cigarini (Atalanta), De Rossi (Roma), Diamanti (Bologna), Giaccherini (Juventus), Marchisio (Juventus), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Paris St Germain), Nocerino (AC Milan), Pirlo (Juventus), Schelotto (Atalanta), Verratti (Pescara)
Forwards: Balotelli (Manchester City), Borini (Roma), Cassano (AC Milan), Destro (Siena), Di Natale (Udinese), Giovinco (Parma)