Originally featured on the TalkingTikiTaka – WC2014 Blog
Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has largely turned to experience rather than youth as Italy gear up for this summers World Cup. In a squad which features a number of players from Serie A champions Juventus, Prandelli has selected a squad which includes two players with over 100 international caps and a further seven players with at least 30 international caps. The somewhat irreplaceable Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, two definite mainstays in the Italian national side for over a decade, will once again take centre stage and Prandelli will hope both have enough experience to guide Italy to World Cup success and building on their recent runners up success in Euro 2012. Although Prandelli has focused on the inclusion of much more seasoned veterans, Torino hotshot Ciro Immobile – a player heavily linked with a big money move to Borussia Dormund in recent weeks, and fellow teammate Alessio Cerci make the 30 man provisional squad, showing Prandelli’s willingness to consider promising young and inexperienced Italians despite his preference for experience in this summer’s World Cup.
Alberto Aquilani and Gabriel Paletta, most famously known for flopping in the Premier League for Liverpool have both been shortlisted by Prandelli whilst the ever popular Mario Balotelli looks to lead the line for Italy this Summer. Several young stars will hope to make the final cut with the likes of the creative Napoli attacking midfielder Lorenzo Insigne and PSG holding midfielder Marco Verratti pushing to be included in the final 23 man squad after a string of impressive performances for their respective clubs. 17 year old goalkeeper Simone Scuffet of Udinese who has been largely tipped as the next Buffon and as the future Italian number 1 misses out whilst 24-year-old fullback Matteo Darmian of Torino is a surprise inclusion by Prandelli. Italy begin their World Cup campaign in Group D against England on Saturday 14th June, a game which mirrors the Euro 2012 quarter-final between the two sides which is most famously remembered for Pirlo’s ‘panenka’ penalty which sent Italy on their way to the final.
Prandelli’s 30 man provisional world cup squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (PSG), Mattia Perrin (Genoa)
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leandro Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Christian Maggio (Lazio), Gabriel Paletta (Parma), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan)
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Thiago Motta (PSG), Romulo (Verona), Marco Verratti (PSG)
Strikers: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Mattia Destro (AS Roma), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina)