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World Cup Qualifier Pelle excluded from Italy squad after snubbing Ventura

Graziano Pelle has been withdrawn from Italy's squad after refusing to shake hands with head coach Giampiero Ventura.

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Graziano Pelle has been excluded from Italy's squad for their match against Macedonia after refusing to shake hands with head coach Giampiero Ventura following his substitution against Spain.

The Shandong Luneng striker, 31, started Thursday's 1-1 draw with Spain in Turin, but was replaced by Ciro Immobile after an hour with the hosts trailing to Vitolo's goal.

Italy went on to rescue a point thanks to Daniele De Rossi's late penalty to give them momentum ahead of their trip to Macedonia on Sunday, but Pelle will not be involved after the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced his punishment for snubbing Ventura.

"Giampiero Ventura, in agreement with the FIGC, has decided to exclude Graziano Pelle from the squad for the match against FYR Macedonia on Sunday, October 9 in Skopje for disrespectful behaviour at the time of his substitution during yesterday's match with Spain," read the statement.

"Being part of the national team entails the sharing of values and attitudes befitting the national team, starting with respect towards the staff, team-mates and fans. The player will return today to his parent club."

Pelle has won 20 Italy caps since making his debut against Malta in October 2014 and scored nine goals, including three at Euro 2016.

Ventura had initially attempted to play down the incident at his post-match media conference, saying: "These things happen. I think Graziano was more angry at himself and the way his performance went than anything else."

Pelle, meanwhile, had already released an apology prior to Italy's decision to remove him from the squad.

"Unfortunately, I have once again made a mistake," he wrote on Instagram.

"It was unacceptable behaviour, against the coach in the first place and also to my team-mates, who have always shown to have team spirit in a fantastic Italy group that we all belong to.

"Like any great mistake, you always suffer the consequences and it is only right that I take full responsibility. I must ask from the heart for forgiveness from everyone. Graziano."

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