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Prandelli smiles with fewer foreign stars in Italy

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ROME — Serie A's inability to attract foreign stars this season has left a smile on the face of Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.

Looking to build on a surprise runner-up performance at the European Championship, Prandelli now has the added bonus of more Italian players being used at Serie A's top clubs.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva having left for Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan started 10 Italian players in Saturday's 3-1 win over Bologna, when newly signed Giampaolo Pazzini scored a hat trick. It was the most home-grown players the club had used in 17 years.

Having been left off Italy's squad for Euro 2012, Pazzini is back for the Azzurri's opening two World Cup qualifiers at Bulgaria on Friday and against Malta in Modena four days later.