Italy’s first pre-World Cup training camp will take place this week at La Borghesiana in Rome. A squad of 29 has been selected by Head Coach Marcello Lippi, with several notable exclusions.
Since April much suggestion and speculation has surrounded the Juventus forward Amauri and his possible inclusion in Lippi’s party for South Africa. The Brazilian-born 29-year-old has recently received Italian citizenship and expressed his desire to play for the Azzurri, stating that it would make him the “happiest man in the world”. The Old Lady’s number 11, however, has been in awful form recently and has found the net only five times in Serie A this season, the same number of times he has found his way into the referee’s notebook. A further two goals in European competition, not to mention a league sending off, means that any chance of his World Cup dream coming true has been undermined by form and indiscipline.
Amauri faces a race against time to have any chance of sneaking through the back door to South Africa. On 11th May Lippi must announce a provisional squad of 30 players, who, barring any replacements for injury, will make up the player pool for which the final squad of 23 will be chosen a week later. By 18th May the Head Coach is also permitted to select four replacement players, should the need arise. Many names have and will continue to be touted as squad players and much will depend on whether Lippi takes two players for every position or overcompensates in certain areas. Lippi’s options in attack make it relatively unlikely for Amauri to be included in the main squad or amongst the four in reserve.
Several other names have also been left out of the current 29. Players from Inter and Roma have not been included due to their participation in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday evening. Likewise, Giuseppe Rossi’s commitments to Spanish club, Villarreal, also means he is not eligible. Another Italian plying his trade outside of Serie A, Liverpool’s Alberto Aquilani, has probably contributed too little too late in his quest for inclusion, with just one Premier League fixture remaining for Il Principino. Perhaps the most surprising exclusion is that of Palermo captain, Fabrizio Miccoli, who has been in excellent form in recent weeks. Also in good form is Antonio Cassano, but the Sampdoria attacker has long been out of favour with the Italian hierarchy, while Mario Balotelli’s volatile temperament and resulting lack of minutes for Inter are likely to see him miss out altogether. It displays the strength of Italy’s attacking options that such big names can be left out, in possible addition to that of Roma talisman Francesco Totti.
The following weeks will offer much excitement as the build up to South Africa for the world champions intensifies.
The 29 man squad to train at La Borghesiana this week:
Buffon, Marchetti, De Sanctis, Sirigu
Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Cassani, Chiellini, Criscito, Legrottaglie, Maggio, Bocchetti, Bonucci, Grosso
Pirlo, Camoranesi, Candreva, Cossu, Gattuso, Marchisio, Montolivo, Pepe, Palombo
Gilardino, Borriello, Di Natale, Quagliarella, Pazzini, Iaquinta