The Italy Squad
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Marco Amelia (Palermo), Morgan De Sanctis (Galatasaray)
Defenders: Daniele Bonera (Milan), Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid), Andrea Dossena (Liverpool), Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina), Fabio Grosso (Olympique Lyonnais), Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus), Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan);
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Roma), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Simone Perrotta (Roma), Andrea Pirlo (Milan);
Strikers: Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Fabio Quagliarella (Udinese), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich).
So basically, this is the conservative Azzurri that we’ve seen under Lippi. A lot of guys from 06, not too many great guys from the present. Guys like Maggio who should be in there aren’t, and guys like Iaquinta who can’t even find playing time for Juve somehow got called up. That’s Lippi for you.
This should look very familiar to anyone whose payed attention to Lippi since his return. No surprises and no new call ups, barring the return of some guys from injury (like Buffon and Aquilani).
I know some of you guys are going to be pissed that guys like Santacroce, Cassano, and Di Viao aren’t in the squad, but overall, I think Lippi’s doing a good job. Again, he’s transitioning slowly but surely to ensure the balance of the team isn’t screwed. Santacroce is going to be called up before WC 2010. It’s only a matter of time. I dunno why Lippi’s waiting, but he can’t take Bonera and Gamberini with us to South Africa. I also think we’re going to have to accept that Cassano might not ever be called up under Lippi- if he wasn’t last year, when he was firing Samp towards the UEFA cup, he surely won’t be this year when they’re in the bottom half of the table. Finally, I don’t think Di Viao should be called up anyway. I’d focus more on youth and I think Rossi- Gila could be a good partnership. All depends on what Lippi can get out of Gila.
If he calls up this same squad when qualifying comes around and we’re playing a minnow team, then I’ll be pissed. But giving guys like Santacroce their first cap against Brazil is an enormous amount of pressure. God forbid something goes wrong, and their confidence would be forever crushed. Calling up guys from 06 for a friendly like this means that most of these guys are used to huge games that we need to win. Lippi should, once qualifying resumes, start to call up guys like Santa. They need time to play against smaller teams, and then work them up to play against big ones. But calling them up to play against Brazil could just backfire entirely. So playing it safe might have it’s benefits in this game.
Finally, this is a just a friendly. A huge friendly, yes, but I wouldn’t look at these call ups and automatically assume that these are the guys going to South Africa. Usually coaches experiment in a friendly, but I think Lippi’s playing it safe for one reason- if he doesn’t lose this game, he’ll have the new record for being the coach with the longest game streak without a loss, internationally. Playing it safe just might ensure his passage into the record books.
And I think he deserves that far more than Di Viao deserves a call up.
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