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Azzurri Missing Several Key Players

With upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Montenegro on October 11 and 15th, Italian national team manager Marcello Lippi finds himself scrambling to suit up players for his squad.  Italy was already heading into the matches sans Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan), Fabio Grosso (Lyon), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan), and Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus) because of a host of injuries.  Now, news today has Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) and Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus) added to the list of  wounded.

With so many top-level players out, Lippi may turn to the rising crop of Italian youngsters especially against Montenegro.  Not only will the recently capped players gain added international experience, but Lippi will also be able to evaluate several who will be factors in 2010 when South Africa hosts the World Cup.

Siena’s Gianluca Curci could receive his first cap now that Buffon is out.  26-year old Marco Amelia of Palermo could also work in goal.  Up front, both Simone Pepe (Udinese) and New Jersey born Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal) are seeking their first caps.

Bulgaria is lead by the Manchester-based duo of Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United) and Martin Petrov (Manchester City) and should give Italy trouble.

Montenegro is captained by Roma forward Mirko Vučinić.  The young squad is a long shot to qualify for the World Cup.