Alexa

Italy coach sticking with new conduct code

 Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, centre, is shown a red card by referee Cuneyt Cakyr, obscured, after a late tackle on Dynamo Kiev's Goran Popov du...
 Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, centre, is ushered from the pitch after being shown a red card after a late tackle on Dynamo Kiev's Goran Popov, b...
 Fiorentina's Riccardo Montolivo, left, is challenged by AS Roma's Daniele De Rossi during a Serie A soccer match at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Fl...

Britain Soccer Europa League

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, centre, is shown a red card by referee Cuneyt Cakyr, obscured, after a late tackle on Dynamo Kiev's Goran Popov du...

Britain Soccer Europa League

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, centre, is ushered from the pitch after being shown a red card after a late tackle on Dynamo Kiev's Goran Popov, b...

Italy Soccer Serie A

Fiorentina's Riccardo Montolivo, left, is challenged by AS Roma's Daniele De Rossi during a Serie A soccer match at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Fl...

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is sticking with his code of conduct "at all costs," even though it has resulted in the exclusions of Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli for Friday's European Championship qualifier in Slovenia.
When he replaced Marcello Lippi after Italy's first-round elimination from the World Cup, Prandelli instituted new rules whereby national team players are expected to meet high behavioral standards even with their clubs.
De Rossi was banned for three AS Roma games by UEFA for elbowing Shakhtar Donetsk captain Dario Srna in the face during a Champions League match earlier this month, and Balotelli was sent off during a Europa League match with Manchester City last week for a studs-first lunge at Dynamo Kiev defender Goran Popov.
"Their exclusions last for one game, so for Ukraine we'll see," Prandelli said Monday, looking forward to next week's friendly in Kiev. "The ethics code will stay at all costs, otherwise we won't be credible. Everyone supports it and nobody has ever had anything against it."
So what would Prandelli do if this were the final qualifier with everything on the line?
"If you want to play that game, OK, let's play: If it were the final, decisive game before the Euros I would have called up (Francesco) Totti and (Alessandro) Del Piero _ and maybe also (Antonio) Di Natale and (Marco) Di Vaio," Prandelli said, mentioning four over-30 forwards who have impressed in Serie A this season.
"They're examples for the younger players. These kids should learn from them," Prandelli added.
With midfielder Andrea Pirlo also out due to injury, Cesena's Marco Parolo was given his first call-up, while Parma's Sebastian Giovinco and Juventus' Alessandro Matri joined regulars Antonio Cassano, Alberto Gilardino, Giampaolo Pazzini and Giuseppe Rossi in attack.
"It's disappointing to drop two players like De Rossi and Balotelli, two really important players, especially De Rossi, who has international experience like nobody else in games like the ones that await us," said Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
"I wasn't there when the ethical code was introduced," Buffon added, referring to the back injury that kept him out at the start of Prandelli's term. "These are situations that obviously need to be controlled by the coach, but if there's a code it needs to be respected."
Center back Andrea Ranocchia and Brazilian-born midfielder Thiago Motta were evaluated by Italy's medical staff for minor physical problems but will stay with the team, despite Inter Milan apparently clamoring for them to return with the derby against AC Milan approaching.
"They're going to try to get back into form," Prandelli said. "Any sort of controversy related to the derby ends here."
Italy holds a three-point lead over Slovenia at the top of its qualifying group.
"Slovenia is a solid squad that really organizes itself well. I'm worried about their enthusiasm," Prandelli said. "This game is important, even though it's not (decisive)."
Also Monday, Italian officials said they were coordinating a detailed security plan with Slovenian authorities. Italy's last qualifier against Serbia in October was abandoned due to fan violence.