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The former AC Milan attacker was somewhat surprisingly left out of the team, but his exclusion is down to a lack of sharpness rather than for tactical reasons

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has stressed that Inter attacker Antonio Cassano's lack of fitness was the reason behind his omission from the Azzurri squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Malta.

The flamboyant attacker was one of the stars for his country at Euro 2012, but the former Fiorentina wants him to get fully match fit first before taking him into consideration once more.

"Cassano has stated that he is only at 50 or 60 per cent at the moment," the Italy coach said at a press conference.

"This is not the moment to help players get back in shape. We must win games right from the start in order to qualify for the World Cup.

"I simply can not take any risks with players who are not in top condition right now. There is a lot at stake in these qualifiers.

"Antonio only has to make sure he gets back to 100% again and hit top form. Then I will have tactical decisions to make again."

Italy start their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign with an away match against Bulgaria on September 7.

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