Cesare Prandelli has a big test coming up, when the Italian national team faces Germany in Dortmund on February 8th. His list of 23 called up players features some new faces, along with a few returning veterans. Yet the squad which has been called up is missing some important players who are injured. The star striker of the future, Mario Balotelli is still injured, along with Quagliarella, Pirlo, and Pepe, with Prandelli deciding not to call up Marchisio and Gilardino.
There are plenty of experienced players returning, among them is Gianluigi Buffon. Juve’s keeper is finally in a relatively positive state of fitness, but Prandelli’s call up highlights a sickly dependence on the keeper which needs to stop soon. While Buffon is a legendary goalkeeper, Prandelli can’t drag the 33 year-old to the 2012 European Championships, Italy needs a younger keeper. I’ve seen Sirigu (who has been called up) make some excellent saves for Palermo, and he’s probably my first choice to be Buffon’s heir.
Here’s the 23 players called up by Cesare Prandelli for the friendly against Germany:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Salvatore Sirigu, Emiliano Viviano
Defenders: Davide Astori, Leonardo Bonucci, Mattia Cassani, Giorgio Chiellini, Domenico Criscito, Christian Maggio, Andrea Ranocchia
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani, Daniele De Rossi, Sebastian Giovinco, Stefano Mauri, Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Nocerino, Thiago Motta, Angelo Palombo
Forwards: Marco Borriello, Antonio Cassano, Alessandro Matri, Giampaolo Pazzini, Giuseppe Rossi
Something which hit me when I was looking at the teams which these players play for is that there are now three Inter Milan players in the squad! Somehow, the club notorious for its lack of Italians, has snuck in three players into the national team. I’m glad to see Ranocchia, Pazzini, and Thiago Motta in the team, because all three of them are relatively youthful and energetic.
I’m also glad to see Alessandro Matri being called up. The ex-Cagliari forward who recently joined Juventus in the January transfer window has been banging in the goals this season. Giovinco is also being given a chance after his re-emergence at Parma, and I’d really like to see this pair of newcomers succeed.
How do you think Italy will do against Germany in the friendly? Is this squad good enough? Share your predictions and comments below!