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By ESPN Staff

Abate handed first Italy call-up

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has named AC Milan fullback Ignazio Abate for the international friendlies in Poland and at home to Uruguay.

The call-up is the first for the 24-year-old defender, who has been solid in eight league appearances for Milan this season. Prandelli was unable to include strikers Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi.

Cassano underwent a minor heart procedure last week and will be out of action indefinitely while Rossi is sidelined for six months with a knee injury.

Prandelli has included in his 24-man squad the attacking Juventus pair, Pepe and Alessandro Matri.

Pepe has not featured for the Azzurri since October 2010 while Matri's last appearance for Italy was in June.

Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli is among several players who return to the national team after missing last month's Euro 2012 qualifiers through injury.

Italy travel to Wroclaw to face Poland on Friday before hosting Uruguay on November 15 in Rome.

Italy squad: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St Germain); Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (Palermo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St Petersburg), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter); Alberto Aquilani (AC Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Inter), Antonio Nocerino (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus); Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma), Giampaolo Pazzini (Inter), Pepe (Juventus), Daniel Osvaldo (Roma), Alessandro Matri (Juventus).

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