Marcello Lippi may have announced three new names in his squad to face to Cameroon tomorrow but problems still plague the squad.
It is not often that one would question the tactical genius of a manager with Marcello Lippi’s experience but the Italian is making it extremely hard to be likeable around the peninsula. Lippi’s team selection may have included three debutantes for the Cameroon friendly but it is unlikely that any of them will solve the problems the Azzurri are facing at this time. Salvatore Sirigu, Andrea Cossu and Leonardo Bonucci are quality players but most unlikely to travel to South Africa with the national team.
Cossu has been excellent for Cagliari this term and has been a driving force behind the team’s eighth position in the table. The Sardinian has recorded nine assists this season and is only behind Ronaldinho on the play-making charts. Cossu has been ever improving for the Rossoblu but he is certainly not the best attacking midfielder in Italy. Leonardo Bonucci on the other hand is an inspired selection by Lippi as he is the future of the Azzurri. Bonucci has performed remarkably for Bari this term, along with the now injured Andrea Ranocchia, and his young legs are something that Italy desperately need. Whilst goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has joined the squad purely because of Gianluigi Bufffon’s injury.
Earlier today Lippi reiterated his desire for Alessandro Nesta to come out of international retirement and join his ranks. The spectacled Italian most definitely will be having a few worries about his defence as the players have struggled to maintain their form. With the exception of Giorgio Chiellini, the rest of the defensive unit still looks shaky especially captain Fabio Cannavaro. The Azzurri leader has looked vulnerable for the good part of the last 18 months and his pace has dropped considerably. There is very less time Lippi to groom a new face into the squad and this has the potential to become a major headache for the national team in four months time.
But the biggest problem facing the team is still has no solution on the horizon. The attacking midfielder – fantasista role is what should worry the technician the most. Francesco Totti’s fitness is always questionable and though he has opened up to the possibility of a return to the national team, his fitness will remain a doubt till the very last minute. Mario Balotelli produced a stellar first-half performance against Udinese but Lippi has shot down his chances for the World Cup as well. “Balotelli is the future… He should concentrate on the U-21 team”, the ex-Juve legend stated earlier today. Super Mario has disciplinary problems but he also is the only one capable of successfully filling in that void.
This was Lippi’s last chance to try out a few variations with his squad as the next time he meets the team will be for the World Cup preparations. We can now only hope that these men will perform their best or rather come back to their best by the time they board the flight to South Africa.