Sunday, 18 May 2014

No Suprises From Prandelli.....Yet!

This past Tuesday, Cesare Prandelli released the much anticipated 30 man provisional squad for this summer’s FIFA World Cup Tournament in Brazil. Initial reaction to the list is one of expectancy. Only the selections of Matteo Darmian, Andrea Parolo and Romulo can really be seen as surprises. None of Prandelli’s omissions however, will raise too many eyebrows, although perhaps there are a few players who have been overlooked.

Il maestro’s selections so far reflect his style and mantra as he has gone with experienced generals, in-form players and those who have abided by his code of ethics (or at least have atoned for any transgressions).

More surprises are sure to occur when Prandelli cuts seven players in order to trim the squad down to the 23 man squad limit for the trip to Brazil. Whether or not Prandelli decides to throw a surprise in his final selection, it will be interesting to gauge how the Azzurri faithful will react to his choice.

Bad selections would be including the likes of Aquilani and Montolivo who have done nothing spectacular of note in the past season to justify their inclusion in the Nazionale setup, but may be picked because they are simply among his favourites, or by selecting the unproven and uncapped Romulo. Good selections will be the inclusion of Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne and perhaps Antonio Cassano who many Azzurri fans already regard as automatic inclusions.

Being the fantasy football manager that I am, here is who I would take in my final 23 man squad based on Prandelli’s 30:

Goalkeepers: Buffon, Sirigu, Perin

Defenders: Abate, Maggio, Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, Ranocchia, De Sciglio, Pasqual

Midfielders: Pirlo, De Rossi, Thiago Motta, Verratti, Candreva, Marchisio

Forwards: Balotelli, Immobile, Rossi, Cerci, Insigne

Arguably, fullback is Italy’s weakest position, and Manuel Pasqual will provide the needed experience and ability to whip an accurate ball into the box if the inexperienced De Sciglio falters.

Ranocchia, (although I am not his biggest fan), has improved tremendously this past season and is less prone to the mental errors he was known for. At 6’4, he possesses an aerial threat that can definitely be used in this squad.

Marco Verratti has done more than enough this season at PSG to prove himself worthy of wearing the Azzurri shirt and displacing more experienced players in his position like Riccardo Montolivo.

Injury concerns aside, Giuseppe Rossi is perhaps the most talented player in Italian player right now and he has already found the net on occasion for Fiorentina since his recent return from yet another knee-injury.

Lorenzo Insigne is a future Azzurri star, and although often left out of Rafa Benitez’ starting eleven, when called upon, he has performed admirably on the big stage as proven in the Coppa Italia final.

Antonio Cassano has had a great season with Parma, but one never knows what kind of attitude he will bring to the team coupled with his advancing age, there are other players like Rossi and Insigne who can undoubtedly stand in for the Bari native.

Fantasy football aside, time will only tell as we wait for Prandelli’s final announcement, but one thing can be rest assured is that this is an Italy team that has plenty of promise and buzz and one that fans can definitely get behind.

Who would you take to the World Cup in Brazil??? Join the conversation

By Robert Vitale

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