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The Azzurrini... One Year On

Posted by David Schiavone Friday, May 21, 2021

The World Cup is ever closer and Azzurri fans are downbeat and disenchanted by Marcelo Lippi for leaving out such talents as Antonio Cassano and Fabrizio Miccoli. There is also concern about the age of some of the squad; many have past their best and the tifosi feel Lippi needs to look to the future instead of 2006.

That said, Italy had a generation of talent on show last year in Sweden at the U21 European Championships. Many of these players would become ineligible for U21 play after last summers tournament, but what has become of this latest crop of Azzurrini?

Goalkeepers

Andrea Consigli, Salvatore Sirigu, Andrea Seculin

Consigli has made the Atalanta jersey his own and despite some good performances he has made a number of errors and will find himself in Serie B next year.

Sirigu on the other hand has excelled this season. He deposed Rubinho in the Palermo goal and has never looked back; he is even in contention for a spot in the Azzurri squad. Has an excellent future ahead of him. Seculin is third choice at Fiorentina.

Defenders

Marco Motta, Marco Andreolli, Domenico Criscito, Lino Marzorati, Andrea Ranocchia, Francesco Pisano, Salvatore Bocchetti

Of these talents, Motta was team captain and standout performer, but he has failed to get regular football at Roma, but when brought on has performed well.

Bocchetti and Criscito have done well at Genoa and are both in the mind of Marcelo Lippi. Criscito in particular may find he is handed the left back slot in South Africa. Ranocchia would be on the plane if he had not been injured.

Pisano has had a season blighted by injury and managed just 7 starts all season.

Marzorati and Andreolli have only been but part players at Cagliari and Roma respectively, with the formers most notable contribution coming as a last minute equalizer against Fulham in the Europa League.

Midfielders

Paolo De Ceglie, Piermario Morosini, Ignazio Abate, Claudio Marchisio, Antonio Candreva, Andrea Poli, Alessio Cerci, Luca Cigarini, Daniele Dessena

The Juventus trio of De Ceglie, Marchisio and Candreva have had a difficult season. But both Marchisio and Candreva can be proud of their efforts and both look to be key players for the future for club and country.

Abate is another who has had a difficult season, played mostly at right-back. Not for lack of effort it seems a future for Italy is not to be had.

Andrea Poli has been a revelation for Sampdoria and was key in their run towards Champions League qualification. His teammate Dessena has endured more of a substitutes role for Samp, but has done well when given the chance.

Cigarini on the other hand has not been a regular starter for Napoli, but has made telling contributions when given the chance. A last minute goal against Milan springs to mind.

Cerci and Morosini have not made an impact at their respective clubs, with the latter not even making a league appearance.

Forwards

Robert Acquafresca, Sebastian Giovinco, Alberto Paloschi, Mario Balotelli

What is left to say about Balotelli? He is mecurial, bad tempered, stroppy but ultimately hugely talented. An Azzurri legend…

Giovinco was touted as the star of this side but the Atomic Ant has endured a stop start campaign. Not receiving enough first team action has and could hamper his development further.

Paloschi is another who has endured an irregular season, he started well at Parma but injury has hampered what promised to be a break out year for the youngster.

He was the focal point in the U21 attack, but failed to impress in Sweden and this season has failed to impress at both Atalanta and Genoa. Unable to step up to the rigours of Serie A.

You need not be worried about the future of La Nazionale, I fully expect many of them to become regular starters in the coming years, maybe a crack at the 2014 World Cup isn’t that unrealistic?

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