Italy drops 2 strikers, Germany names 6 for WCup

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LONDON (AP) — Germany will bring six strikers to South Africa but Italy dropped two as some of the leading World Cup contenders made late decisions on their teams Tuesday, hours before the roster deadline.

England dropped Theo Walcott but kept injured Gareth Barry, while the host Bafana Bafana left all-time top scorer Benni McCarthy off their teams.

Germany coach Joachim Loew promised to take an attack-minded squad and his only late change was to take out 23-year-old defender Andreas Beck. That meant he retained Bayern Munich strikers Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller plus Cacau, Stefan Kiessling and Lukas Podolski to give him plenty of goal-scoring options.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi, who guided the team to its fourth World Cup triumph in Berlin four years ago, had to cut five players from its squad and opted to leave out New Jersey native Giuseppe Rossi, who has dual citizenship, and Marco Borriello. That leaves him with five forwards — Antonio Di Natale, Alberto Gilardino, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Giampaolo Pazzini and Fabio Quagliarella — as Italy bids to become the first team to successfully defend the title since Brazil in 1958 and '62.

Nine players remain from the team that won the World Cup four years ago in Germany: Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mauro Camoranesi, Daniele De Rossi, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Alberto Gilardino and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Four years after former coach Sven-Goran Eriksson took Walcott to the tournament as a 17-year-old but never used him, Fabio Capello decided not to bring the Arsenal winger to South Africa.

Walcott has struggled with injury and form this season and, even with David Beckham out because of a partially torn Achilles tendon, Capello preferred to summon Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Barry has been sidelined since May 5 with ankle ligament damage and Capello waited until a fitness check on Tuesday before deciding to take the Manchester City midfielder. Barry now has 10 more days to get fit for England's first group game, against the United States.

The other six players to miss out on England selection were Darren Bent, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Scott Parker, Michael Dawson and Leighton Baines.

South Africa was widely expected not to include McCarthy.

The 32-year-old striker, who has scored 32 goals in 78 games for his nation, has struggled with fitness and form all season while playing in England for Blackburn then West Ham.

"It was a sad thing to have to split apart our family," coach Carlos Alberto Parreira told a news conference as he announced the six players who will not play in the first World Cup to be staged in Africa.

"But I told them, 'Put your heads up, life goes on. All of you deserve to be here.' Unfortunately we have to obey FIFA rules and we can only name 23."

South Africa kicks off the competition against Mexico on June 11, and then faces former World Cup winners Uruguay and France in its group.

South Korea, Slovakia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Portugal also named squads on Tuesday with no major surprises, although the Slovaks named two strikers who are recovering from injuries.

Filip Holosko broke his leg last year and was not able to train with the team until Monday while Robert Vittek has been sidelined with a knee injury. Neither player was able to play in Saturday's 1-1 warmup draw with Cameroon at Klagenfurt, Austria.

"It was a tough decision," coach Vladimir Weiss said. "Holosko isn't 100 percent fit. Or, he may be fit but we don't know what to expect in a real match. It's the same with Vittek. We'll see in the next few days."

Slovakia's first group game is against New Zealand on June 15 and it then meets Paraguay and Italy.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz waited to see whether Real Madrid centerback Pepe would recover from knee surgery in December and, when he was satisfied with his fitness, decided to leave out Jose Castro.

Defender Kwak Tae-hwi, who injured his knee in Sunday's 1-0 warmup loss to Belarus, is out of the South Korea squad and was replaced by Kang Min-soo.

Coach Huh Jung-moo cut three more players from his provisional squad, leaving midfielders Ku Ja-cheol and Shin Hyung-min and Japan-based striker Lee Keun-ho behind.

"Lee Keun-ho hasn't been able to get over his poor run of form," Huh said. "Shin Hyung-min didn't look sharp against Belarus, and it's unfortunate but Ku Ja-cheol wasn't selected."

The 2002 World Cup semifinalist faces European champion Spain in a warmup match on Thursday in Innsbruck before leaving for South Africa for Group B games with Greece on June 12, Argentina five days later and Nigeria on June 22.

Ivory Coast coach Eriksson trimmed five players from his provisional squad but still included six strikers.

Chelsea duo Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou are likely to lead the attack but the Ivorians are in a tough group, alongside five-time champion Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. They open against Portugal on June 15.

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel, who led the team to a surprise Euro 2004 triumph and had already trimmed his squad to 25, left out midfielder Grigoris Makos and defender Giorgos Tzavelas.