sport

Balotelli out of Italy squad

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been left out of new Italy coach Antonio Conte's first squad.

The 24-year-old has not been included in the 27-man squad for Thursday's friendly against the Netherlands and Italy's first qualifying match for the 2016 European Championship, against Norway, five days later.

Balotelli is suspended for the Norway game after picking up two yellow cards at the World Cup in Brazil but Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio who is also banned has been included.

Conte, who replaced Cesare Prandelli who left after the World Cup, has picked six forwards, including Balotelli's former Milan teammate Stephan El Shaarawy.

Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza, 23, who has never played for Italy, is a surprise inclusion, while Ciro Immobile is the only striker selected who went to the World Cup in Brazil.