Football: Italian call-up for Ravanelli

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Fabrizio Ravanelli's season finally looks like getting started after he was called up by Italy for their World Cup play-off against Russia later this month.

"I'm very happy... I'm just sorry I'll miss Olympique Marseilles' trip to Bastia," the striker said, after being notified by fax of his inclusion by Italy's coach, Cesare Maldini.

Ravanelli was not picked for Italy's 0-0 draw with England in Rome on Saturday and has seen little action this season after deciding to leave relegated Middlesbrough. But he marked his Marseilles debut at Rennes a week ago by laying on the first goal and scoring the second from a penalty after being brought down. He makes his home debut against the leaders, Metz, tonight.

Italy meet Russia, second behind Bulgaria in Group Five, in a two-leg play-off away on 29 October and at home on 15 November for a place in the finals in France.