Italy’s new coach Roberto Donadoni has defended his decision to name a reserve team for the international friendly against Croatia.
Of the squad that won this summer’s World Cup, only third-choice goalkeeper Marco Amelia has been selected for the friendly.
Donadoni has handed seven players their first call-ups for the national team and responded to his critics.
“There is no question that these players have earned their call-ups and have the quality. This is not a team with minor figures; these guys are the heritage of Italian football,” Donadoni said.
“I accept critics, but going to such a low level seems like a lack of respect to me.
“The players are mature and prepared. They will prove themselves.”