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Mario Balotelli must show he 'deserves' Italy call-up, says Antonio Conte

The ESPN FC panel discuss Mario Balotelli's return to AC Milan, where Shaka Hislop still believes in his talent.

ROME -- If Mario Balotelli wants to return to Italy's squad, coach Antonio Conte says he'll have to show that he deserves a spot.

But Italy will call up Major League Soccer players Andrea Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco for European Championship qualifiers against Malta and Bulgaria next week.

Balotelli hasn't played for Italy since the Azzurri were eliminated in the first round of last year's World Cup. On Thursday, he was loaned back to AC Milan after scoring only one goal in the Premier League for...

 By PA Sport

Juventus and Italy star Claudio Marchisio ruled out for three weeks

Claudio Marchisio is expected to miss a total of four games for Juventus and Italy.

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio will miss the start of the new Serie A campaign after being ruled out for three weeks with a muscle injury in his right thigh.

Italy international Marchisio was hurt in training this week and underwent tests on Tuesday that revealed a lesion that will see the 29-year-old sit out Sunday's league opener against Udinese as well as the game at Roma on Aug. 30.

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying draw: Spain land Italy in group stages

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno break down the CONCACAF and UEFA World Cup qualifying draws.
ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
Sepp Blatter has arrived in Russia ahead of the preliminary 2018 World Cup draw.
The U.N.'s Special Adviser for Sport believes Blatter should receive recognition for the positive aspects of his tenure.

The draw for the preliminary stages of the 2018 World Cup has been taken with France taking on Netherlands, Spain and Italy drawn in the same group and England finding themselves placed with Scotland.

Germany will start defending their World Cup title in a six-team UEFA pool where the Czech Republic seems the biggest barrier to advancing as group winners.

"I'm happy that we won't play against France or Italy," said former German international and current team official Oliver Bierhoff.

Italy, the...

 By Ben Gladwell

UEFA docks Croatia one point in Euro qualifying for swastika on pitch

A swastika on the pitch has cost Croatia the point they earned in the draw against Italy.

Italy have moved to within a point of Euro 2016 qualifying Group H leaders Croatia on Thursday as their rivals were deducted a point by UEFA.

UEFA announced that the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) had been docked one point because of the racist behaviour of their fans during the 1-1 draw with Italy in Split last month. Television pictures of the game showed how a swastika had been drawn on the pitch.

"The HNS has also been ordered to play its next two home matches in UEFA competition behind...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Alcides Ghiggia, hero of Uruguay's Maracanazo upset, dies at 88

Alcides Ghiggia died on the 65th anniversary of his World Cup-winning goal against Brazil at Maracana.

Alcides Ghiggia, the hero of Uruguay's legendary Maracanazo upset of Brazil in the final game of the 1950 World Cup, has died at age 88.

Ghiggia, who scored the second goal of La Celeste's shock 2-1 victory over heavily favoured Brazil in front of nearly 200,000 spectators at Rio de Janeiro's famed Maracana Stadium, passed away from a heart attack on the 65th anniversary of the triumph.

He was the last surviving Uruguayan player from the match. When he turned 80 he was honored by the Uruguayan congress,...