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By ESPN Staff

Cannavaro to join squad despite drug controversy

Fabio Cannavaro is to join the Italy squad in Coverciano as originally planned on Sunday despite being under the cloud of drug test controversy.

• Cannavaro fails drugs test
• Italy look to Juve crop in Dublin
• Qualifying: Group Eight standings

The 36-year-old failed a drug test after taking a medicine that contained the banned substance cortisone.

Cannavaro was interviewed by the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri on Thursday night in Turin but national coach Marcello Lippi does not expect his star to be absent from the squad.

''I have not spoken to Cannavaro,'' said Lippi. ''But there was no need. Will he be here with us on Sunday? Of course he will. ''

Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci also spoke in defence of the former Real Madrid man.

''I have not spoken to Cannavaro,'' said Castellacci. ''But he is calm and serene. This is just a bureaucratic case.''

Cannavaro's club, Juventus, have claimed the defender needed cortisone treatment for an insect sting in August.

The player requested an exemption from taking drugs tests on the grounds of having taken a medication in an emergency situation but his request did not include a document necessary to complete the application.

While awaiting a decision, Cannavaro took an anti-doping test after a Serie A game at Roma which returned a positive result.

''When he came to the national team, after the Roma game, he told us what had happened and he told us that without the medicine that contained cortisone he would have had a reaction, an anaphylactic shock,'' Castellacci said.

''We asked Juventus for all the necessary documents regarding the medicine taken by Cannavaro and all the communication is in our possession. There are no indications that suggest that Cannavaro will not arrive to Coverciano on Sunday.''

Cannavaro will not travel to Dublin for Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Ireland as he serves a one-match ban, but is expected to lead the Azzurri in Wednesday's qualifier against Cyprus in Parma.

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