Italy coach Cesare Prandelli declared the final 23-man squad that represents them in the World Cup in Brazil, just before the last date to give the list to FIFA officially. While the squad selected is noted for the omission of the star striker Giuseppe Rossi, it does not contain too many big surprises.
I had predicted an Italian squad for the World Cup finals, last week. The final squad selected by the coach contains six changes including a forced one. I am reviewing the changes here and trying to see whether those changes make more sense.
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In the defence, the changes are the inclusions of Matteo Darmian and Gabriel Paletta for Manual Pasqual and Andrea Ranocchia. The inclusion of Darmian is agreeable, but Paletta has been totally off-colour in the friendly match against the Republic of Ireland. He did not have the pace and made too many mistakes including losing ball possession and giving away free passes to the opposition. It will be interesting to see how he makes up for the mistakes if he is called for duty in Brazil. Looks like Prandelli has plans with Matttia Di Sciglio and Giorgio Chiellini as left backs, and possibly Darmian too if need be, and that could be the reason for leaving out Pasqual. But Ranocchia has been named as the 24th man who will be called up to Brazil if Andrea Barzagli is not fit.
In the midfield, the changes are the inclusions of Thiago Motta and Marco Parolo for Christian Maggio and Riccardo Montolivo. I thought the services of Maggio as a right back or a right winger would come into good effect in the World Cup, but may be his injury was a cause of worry for Prandelli. Parolo did okay in the friendly match, and Thiago Motta was in his usual self. He is nothing more than a box to box midfielder and I thought he lacked variety in the midfield. The exclusion of Montolivo was expected as he suffered an injury during the friendly which would keep him out of play for at least two months.
In the strike, the changes are the inclusions of Antonio Cassano and Alessio Cerci for Rossi and Mattia Destro. Cerci is a very good option, but it is to be seen how Cassano plays in Brazil. He wasn’t much impressive in the friendly outing against Ireland. The injury and lack of match practice could be the reason why Prandelli left out Rossi at home. He wasn’t impressive in the outing against Ireland too.
It is clear that the coach had decided on the squad even before the friendly against Ireland was played. Maybe he was confused about one or two positions only. Apart from Paletta, I think the squad is in good shape, but if Paletta takes out his brilliant form he carried from club football, Prandelli and Italy would be really pleased. Wish Italy all the best!