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Criscito recalled to Italy squad

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has recalled six players - including Domenico Criscito, who was dropped from the Azzurri's Euro 2012 party following his arrest on match-fixing charges - for the World Cup qualifiers against Armenia and Denmark.

• Blog: Criscito's bid to clear his name

Zenit defender Criscito was cleared of all wrongdoing after police raided the Italian training camp during the build-up to Euro 2012 and arrested him.

As Italy prepare for a trip to Armenia on Friday followed by a game with Denmark at the San Siro, the coach has also brought Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy, Alberto Gilardino, Andrea Ranocchia and Antonio Candreva back into the picture.

Balotelli missed Italy's most recent matches after having corrective surgery on a eye problem, but this is the first call-up for Ranocchia this calendar year and the first inclusion for Candreva since his time at Juventus almost three years ago.

It is also a return for World Cup-winning striker Gilardino, who has made a stunning start to his Bologna career, netting five times in as many appearances for the Felsinei.

Asked by reporters about his recall alongside team-mate Alessandro Diamanti, he said: "I'm very happy to be back in the national set-up after more than a year.

"It's nice to find the national jersey again alongside a friend and a great player in Alino. But I want to thank all of my team-mates here, boss Stefano Pioli, his staff and everyone at the club who have allowed me to start this season so well."

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St. Germain), Emiliano Viviano (Fiorentina).

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (Roma), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St Petersburg), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter).

Midfielders: Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris St. Germain).

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Mattia Destro (AS Roma), Stephan El Shaaraway (AC Milan), Alberto Gilardino (Bologna), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Pablo Osvaldo (Roma)

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