Pelle removed from Italy squad for refusing coach’s hand

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Italy forward Graziano Pelle has been removed from the team’s squad for refusing to shake coach Gian Piero Ventura’s hand after a substitution.

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The incident occurred Thursday in the second half of Italy’s 1-1 draw with Spain in a World Cup qualifier.

The Italian soccer federation says Pelle has been sent back to his club in China, Shandong Luneng, and will therefore miss Sunday’s qualifier at Macedonia.

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Pelle apologized on Instagram for the incident, describing his behavior as “unacceptable” and adding that “it’s fair that I take responsibility for what happened.”