New Jersey native Giuseppe Rossi makes Italy World Cup squad

Giuseppe Rossi. (Claudio Villa/Getty Images file photo)

United States-born forward Giuseppe Rossi was named to Italy's preliminary 30-man World Cup squad on Tuesday, not long after returning from a four-month layoff due to a right knee injury.

Rossi grew up in Teaneck, N.J., and was developed in Italy's youth national team system. He was invited to the United States' 2006 World Cup training camp, but turned it down to commit to the Azzurri.

Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini also made the roster, ending doubts that he might face a code of ethics punishment for his three-match ban with Juventus.

Big names who missed the cut include forwards Alberto Gilardino and Pablo Osvaldo, midfielders Emanuele Giaccherini and Alessandro Diamanti and defender Domenico Criscito.

Among the forwards who did make it is superstar Mario Balotelli. He'll be joined by, among others, veteran Antonio Cassano and rising star Lorenzo Insigne and Rossi.

On Monday, Chiellini was given a three-game ban by a Serie A judge for elbowing Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic in Juventus' 1-0 win Sunday. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has a strict code of ethics that usually prevents players banned with their clubs from being called up to the national team, but h apparently viewed the incident as not having any intent of violence. 

Prandelli's announcement was made with a press release by the Italian football federation, with no comments attached. He has until June 2 to trim the squad to the final 23 players who will go to Brazil.

Last month, Roma forward Mattia Destro was left off the squad for fitness tests while he served a three-match ban for punching an opponent, and several other players have missed matches due to similar code of ethics violations.  

Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante was left off the 30-man list but was called up to train with the squad in case of an injury to the three goalkeepers selected - veteran captain Gianluigi Buffon, Salvatore Sirigu and Mattia Perin. 

It's Buffon's ninth call up to a major international tournament, moving him level with former Germany great Lothar Matthaus as the top Europeans. It would have been 10 if Buffon hadn't been injured for the 2000 European Championship.

Italy, a four-time World Cup champion is in Group D with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica.


Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain) 

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gabriel Paletta (Parma), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan). 

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Romulo (Hellas Verona), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain). 

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Mattia Destro (Roma), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina).

This article contains information from the Associated Press.