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Italy 23-man World Cup squad announced

Italian national soccer team training session

Lippi has announced his final squad of 23 he will be taking to South Africa, while there aren’t too many major surprises, there were two exclusions in the attacking department which seem a bit strange.

Here’s the final 23-man squad:

Goal-keepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari)

Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan)

Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Andrea Pirlo (Milan)

Strikers: Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli)

The two main exclusions that should be noted are Giuseppe Rossi and Marco Borriello, it seems like Quagliarella beat them in the race to be the fifth striker. We saw Giuseppe Rossi have a fantastic Confederations Cup where he lit up the team with his individual brilliance, but for Lippi that must’ve not been enough even though Quagliarella hasn’t achieved much in his International career. Marco Borriello’s exclusion is more understandable, the AC Milan striker has had injury problems the entire season, and although he has scored some great bicycle kicks, he still hasn’t shown that he can perform on the International stage.

There were three other players cut other than Rossi and Borriello, and among them was the goal-keeper Sirigu, who I would’ve taken over De Sanctis. The other two who will remain home are Cassani and Cossu, both inexperienced and in my opinion, just not good enough. Lippi has made some relatively controversial decisions on who to cut, but it doesn’t seem like the team will be heavily affected because of this.

This Italy team seems in a state of change, we see the older players like Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Camoranesi, and Gattuso still hanging around, but we also see a younger generation begin to come through. Players like Montolivo, Criscito, Bonucci, Marchisio, and more are all beginning to step up to the challenge of playing for the current World Cup holders. While maybe this squad isn’t as powerful as teams like Brazil and Spain, there is an extremely promising set of youngsters beginning to make themselves present in Lippi’s plans.

If you are interested in all the 32 team’s 23 man squads, you can check them out here where all of the teams are listed in their groups with the called up squads. What are your thoughts on the team going to South Africa? Be sure to share them below by commenting!

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Click to comment


  1. Rami S.

    June 8, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Hello Sam,

    Santon & Giovinco have been injured while Balotelli was not going to be picked because of his attitude. As for G. Rossi, I am surprised he was cut from the final 23.

    There are younger players on the team but no creative force.

  2. Sam

    June 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I was hoping lippi was going to pick younger players this year like giuseppe rossi, davide santon, sebastian giovinco or mario balotelli. but what do I know i haven’t seem them play regularly in serie a, as i live in england and watch the premier league, so i could be wrong but i don’t think we have enough young players in the squad. I don’t believe we have as good a chance as say the stronger nations like brazil spain or england.

  3. wettbewerbe

    June 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I think Spain will win the soccer World Champions title in South Africa. They are in a real good shape right now and won’t be stopped.

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  5. Robert

    June 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    @Niccolo All three players are good young players. But they are a defender and two midfielders. I would have liked to have seen a young creative, colorful striker on the club as well.

    @Rami I think your comment hit the nail on the head. I think Cassano, despite his talent, had no chance at making the team – I’m not sure what is between him and Lippi but it’s not pretty.

    • Rami S.

      June 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm

      Even Fabrizio Miccoli had no chance before the injury. Yes, he’s not the best, but he had a great season and deserve a chance. Injury saved Lippi the task of having to answer why he didn’t give him a chance.

      Lippi did coach him while at Juve I believe, but I think Moggi and even Lippi’s son are not fans of Miccoli. It could be the reason. As for Cassano, I am not sure what could be wrong since they never worked together on the club level.

      At this stage, Italy’s chances are quite slim. I hope Lippi proves me wrong and creates something out of the current predictable squad.

  6. Niccolo

    June 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    @Rami, I agree with you about Cannavaro being a liability, but I think that he’s important to the team morale, so Lippi almost had to keep him. And I have twitter, it’s @Soccerwrapup, and it’s mainly updates from my blog and my thoughts of what’s going on in soccer.

    @Robert, I think that while Lippi has left out some important players like Rossi, Cassano, and Balotelli, we are seeing a young crop of players like Bonucci, Montolivo, and Marchisio. I think Lippi chose this squad with some very experienced players, and some inexperienced players to give the next generation some experience with veterans. Maybe Lippi is thinking about the boys that will travel to the 2012 EURO’s or the 2014 World Cup…

    And yes, some great discussion, wish we could have this every post, great comments!

    • Rami S.

      June 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm


      I added the twitter account you gave me. We can keep in touch there as well.

      I actually believe in Lippi being one of the best coaches around but I think he sometimes thinks he’s managing a club as opposed to a national team so that’s why he worries so much about “team unity” and not having any unpredictable players who can disrupt harmony. Let’s face it most great talents were not really an example of being well disciplined and there are plenty of examples such as Romario, Maradona and so forth. Even the well-behaved stars have their issues and egoistic approach to things such as C. Ronaldo of Portugal.

      At this point I can say Spain’s stars are most humble as you rarely hear something out of control or see an ill-disciplined act from Xavi or Villa, etc…. perhaps it’s the fact they’re now both with Barca and you can tell Messi (Argentina) is humble too and hard working.

      Let’s just say picking Cassano would not have disrupted the team. In Euro 2008, Cassano was well-behaved and did not cause any controversy.

      The reason Italy won in Germany 2006 is Buffon, Cannavaro, Zambrotta and Pirlo were at their best. Now, Cannavaro & Zambrotta are past their best while Pirlo is injured leaving Buffon as the only key player. Gattuso was good too and we know what happened to De Rossi with that elbow. Basically Lippi kept those who actually guided the Azzurri to World Cup glory. So when someone says Lippi kept only 9 players, well he actually kept those who helped the team effectively win the WC. Thus, he didn’t introduce much of a change to the core.

      The others such as Iaquinta, Camoranesi and Gilardino could have easily been replaced back in WC 2006 and Italy would still have won. Simply put, Italy’s key players remain from the previous edition of the World Cup and that’s why he really has not introduced change.

      Italy won because of team effort in WC 2006 and Lippi knows the same 11 to 15 players he really counted on cannot be used again because of age, injury or decline in form, yet he kept the best players as Pirlo was MVP of Final, Buffon was best goalkeeper and Cannavaro was World’s best player that year.

      So really where is the change? I think as good as Lippi is as a coach he didn’t prepare a solid team for Prandelli to take over. The same happened with Donadoni (Yes, he is not a very good coach but he had to deal with aging players from WC 2006 and no Nesta and no Totti).

  7. Robert

    June 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Great discussion on this post!

    Just a subquestion for everyone to consider – is Lippi harming future World Cup squads with his 2010 selections? We noted a bunch of young creative players that would make goood additions (Rossi, Balotelli, etc.) were not on the final 23. Will this seriously harm 2014 and 2018 squads because of lack of international experience?

    • Rami S.

      June 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      This is actually a very valid concern. If everyone recalls Ronaldo was in Brazil’s USA 1994 squad yet didn’t feature but this gave him the opportunity to see first hand a lot of things related to the WC from preparation, training to the atmosphere & pressure before games.

      Let’s just say Lippi made a mistake by not having at least Rossi on the bench because you never know when he might use him. I think Balotelli would not have worked on the bench because he would sulk, create drama and chaos if not played. Still, I’d pick Rossi and I am just surprised at the inclusion of certain players.

      Prandelli will have a huge task of having to rebuild the Azzurri. Buffon will be there but all the other positions (except Chiellini when healthy, Marchisio in midfield) will need to see change.

      I think Criscito, Bonucci and Maggio (but he’s already closing on 30) are good enough but they’re not great. They’re not as good as Chiellini or Zambrotta (when he was young).

      Tough times ahead for Prandelli but let’s see what strategy he brings. Lippi is a very good coach, no one can deny that after he won the Champions League and World Cup, but he is predictable.

  8. Niccolo Conte

    June 3, 2010 at 6:54 pm


    I think that a good point you make is that the Italian team is missing a couple of “flair” or X Factor players. Totti used to be one, and Cassano, Balotelli, and Giuseppe Rossi are all those players that will create a wonderful goal out of nothing, whether it be a long range strike or a sublime through ball.

    I think that Lippi is calling up Gattuso and the others just to maybe teach a thing or two to Montolivo and Marchisio who are still learning about playing at international level. While I wouldn’t call Gattuso up, I think that there is a little bit of sense in his decision, because Italy is missing a new Gattuso/rough it up player.

    And about Nesta and Cannavaro, I think that they’re both practically slugs which meander around the field, and while Nesta might seem a bit more solid, I think there are 2 main reasons he made the team:

    1. He is an icon, their captain, an amazing leader which invigorates the team

    2. He has a defensive partnership with Chiellini already, they’ve played together quite a bit for Juventus and they’re familiar with each other. For me they compliment each other and you have to remember, they’ve also played in front of Buffon the entire season, and the goalkeeper/defense interaction is extremely important.

    Thx for the comment Rami!

    • Rami S.

      June 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm


      I agree with you about Gattuso and you mention a good point regarding the fact there are no tough tackling midfielders left but I think De Rossi is closest in terms of fighting spirit but is much more of talent than Gattuso.

      I think not picking one between Totti, Cassano and G. Rossi was a mistake but we shall see what happens. As for Buffon with Cannavaro and Chiellini, I agree it’s good to be familiar with the players but Cannavaro has really slowed down and I think he might be a liability.

      Italy’s biggest hope is for Chiellini to return to fitness because he’s the best defensive player. Buffon and Chiellini must be at their best for Italy to last through this tournament.

      Do you have twitter? I think Azzurri will count on Buffon, Chiellini, De Rossi, and will need a striker to shine.

  9. Rami S.

    June 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm


    I agree the Azzurri in transition. Since we all knew Cassano & Balotelli would be excluded, my question would be why would Lippi cut G. Rossi? Last year he saved Italy from complete humiliation by scoring the double against USA and providing a spark.

    My 2 other thoughts are: Why didn’t Lippi try harder for Nesta as Cannavaro is past it? Don’t you think Cannavaro is too slow at this stage? I know from my observations he was one of the weak links in Juve this season. And finally why didn’t Lippi just omit Gattuso and add an attacker or attacking midfielder instead. I think Totti should have been called up. He’d play a solid 25 minutes off the bench every match.

    I respect Lippi because he won the WC 2006 and he was good while with Juve, but I think he does have a habit of sticking to certain trends to exclude certain players.

    Regardless, Italia’s squad is not as good as that of 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and of course 2006. This is the worst team since 1986 probably. Actually there might be a similar trend to WC 1986 since 1982 team won the tournament but 1986 was not up to par

  10. Niccolo Conte

    June 3, 2010 at 1:44 am

    @Joseph, I think that Lippi might try to play a 4-2-3-1 with Montolivo and Pirlo both playing together in the #6 position, or he could try Montolivo behind the striker as a more creative influence.

    @Marco, I agree, it was strange to see those two included, I would have rather had Cassano, Santon, or Balotelli.

    Thx for the comments, and please continue!

  11. Marco

    June 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I think you’re right that this squad is going through a transition period. I was actually surprised that Cossu and Sirigu even made the final 28 since Lippi has a habit of not doing wildcards even for his preliminary squads.

  12. Joseph n.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Curious to see if Montolivo will see any games or if Lippi will start Pirlo. We all remember how Pirlo set up Grosso to dispose of Germany in the semis. I dont recall if the Italian forward was marked out of the game or if they held back play in hopes of tiring the German team. If they find a balance in att/def and their forwards capitalize on their opponents mistakes they should make it to the semifinals once again. However, how long before Italy’s slow start catches up to them again and are on the verge of being sent packing in the group stage. Yes it is an impossible scenario, but what if Lippi chose this group of players to thouroughly beat everyone in their group. Could he have felt that those he cut from the team would cause a repeat of the Confederations Cup early round exit? Is this team better? Has he altered his tactics? I certainly believe that they will be a powerful team this time third time around and their opponents in the group should beware.

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