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Much of the Same But With a Sprinkling of Black Pepper

Posted by David Schiavone Saturday, November 14, 2021

Italian national football team manager saluts his teamWith the final international break of the year almost upon us, Marcelo Lippi has named his squad for the upcoming games with Holland and Sweden and he managed to spring a few surprises along with the usual sprinkling of nailed on members.
Lets have a look at the players Senor Lippi has given the call ahead of the two games.

The goalkeeping position is about the only area of the Italy team that isn’t up for debate; if he is fit Gianluigi Buffon will be Italy’s number one, no questions asked. His save against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League was nothing short of phenomenal. For me he is the best in the world.

The only question is finding an able deputy for the great man, he personally earmarked Federico Marchetti as his successor but I am a fan of Luca Castellazzi of Sampdoria myself. He has been in superb form all season, and can be considered along with Cassano as a vital cog in the blucerchiati machine, but Morgan De Sanctis managed to get the nod instead for the upcoming games.

In defence we have what will be the starting back four in South Africa, Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini, Gianluca Zambrotta and Fabio Grosso. Then we have back up centre-backs Salvatore Bocchetti and Nicola Legrottaglie who seem certain to be boarding the plane and subsequently we have a number of fringe players given the chance to shine.

Mattia Cassani of Palermo has a chance to impress and according to his coach Walter Zenga, the entire Palermo side should be in the Azzurri squad. Cassani has been in good form this season and deserves a chance, lets hope he can take it. He will have competition from Christian Maggio of Napoli who is as strong going forward as he is at defending, a player who has earned his call up and will look to oust both Zambrotta and Cassani for this starting right-back slot.

Finally in the defensive stakes we have Domenico Criscito, the Genoa left-back. A star for the U21’s and for his club, he will be a future star for the national side and should be given the chance to challenge Grosso for a starting berth.

Again with the midfielders, Lippi has selected a core that will almost certainly be heading to South Africa. Andrea Pirlo, Mauro Camoranesi, Danielle De Rossi and Angelo Palombo. All have been heavily involved in the qualifying campaign so expect them to travel.

Marco Marchionni has been in and out the squad recently, his two goals against Catania a couple of weeks past will have earned him one last chance to impress Lippi. I however, do not expect him to retain his place in the squad.

Danielle Galloppa has one cap, earned against Northern Ireland in June this year. He has been superb for Parma as they climb higher up the Serie A table. He can provide added to drive and energy to a midfield that has become slow and cumbersome.
Then we have two surprise call-ups, Davide Biondini of Cagliari and Antonio Candreva of Livorno.

For me Candreva has particularly impressed this campaign, on loan from Udinese he was part of the Italy side that took part in the U21 European Championships in the summer. It may be a bit too late for him to get a place in the final World Cup squad but if there are a few injuries then he could well get a chance. A player who has been Livorno’s only shining light.

Riccardo Montolivo was a late call-up to replace the injured Danielle De Rossi. He has been out of the Azzurri picture since the disastrous Confederations Cup campaign and has been given one last chance to shine and show Lippi he can offer something to La Nazionale in South Africa. He was earmarked as the next great Italian creative talent but so far has failed to live up to such a label.

As for the strikers it is pretty much as you were, with the additions of Genoa’s Raffaele Palladino and Sampdoria’s Giampaolo Pazzini. Pazzini will be looking to cement his place in the squad and carry forward his form with Samp; lets just hope he doesn’t receive a silly red card. No place for Antonio Cassano, it seems his World Cup dream is dead and buried.

As Lippi continues to shape his team for 2010, it can be safely said he knows about 18 of his 23 man squad and there wont be much room for any wild card entries. It would now be a case of instilling the same belief and cohesion the 2006 side had. Would you bet against Italy lifting the World Cup next year?

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari)

Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Mattia Cassani (Palermo), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Fabio Grosso (Juventus), Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan)

Midfielders: Davide Biondini (Cagliari), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Antonio Candreva (Livorno), Riccardo Montolivo (Roma), Danielle Galloppa (Parma), Marco Marchionni (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Andrea Pirlo (Milan)

Forwards: Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Raffaele Palladino (Genoa), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Guiseppe Rossi (Villarreal)


  1. Kevin Walker Says:
  2. Glad to see Toni left off the squad

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. I hope Candreva get a place in the squad, he was awesome


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