Balotelli overlooked again as Quagliarella replaces Osvaldo in Italy squad

The Torino striker has received his first Azzurri call-up since November 2010 following the withdrawal of the Inter attacker, who has been sidelined with a hamstring problem

Mario Balotelli has once again been overlooked by Antonio Conte, with the new Italy coach having turned to Fabio Quagliarella to replace the injured Pablo Daniel Osvaldo in his squad for Thursday’s friendly against Netherlands and next week’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Norway.

Balotelli was surprisingly left out of the original 27-man panel when it was announced on Sunday but was in contention for a recall after it emerged that Osvaldo was struggling with a hamstring problem.

However, Conte has instead decided to turn to Torino striker Quagliarella, who was last called up by his country in November 2010.

Conte, of course, knows the 31-year-old well, having worked with the attacker for the duration of his three-year stint in charge of Juventus.

Quagliarella’s call-up represents the second injury-enforced change to the original squad, with versatile Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna having replaced Parma centre-half Gabriel Paletta, who pulled out with a back problem.

Italy host Netherlands in Bari on Thursday evening before travelling to Oslo to take on Euro 2016 qualification rivals Norway next Tuesday.

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