Giuseppe Rossi has missed out on a place in Italy’s final 23-man World Cup squad, announced this evening.
Cesare Prandelli has instead opted to include Lorenzo Insigne in his place, while there is no room for Roma’s Mattia Destro either. Parma’s Antonio Cassano is however one of five forwards named by the Azzurri boss.
In the defence, Torino full-back Matteo Darmian’s performance last night against Republic of Ireland clearly impressed Prandelli, for it has earned him a place in the final selection. He wins a place at the expense of the likes of Manuel Pasqual, Christian Maggio and Andrea Ranocchia.
As for the midfield, Paris Saint Germain’s Marco Verratti is another player included whose participation in the finals had previously been up for debate. He is in, probably as the direct replacement for Riccardo Montolivo, who was ruled out of the tournament due to a broken tibia sustained yesterday during the Azzurri’s meeting with the Irish.
Alberto Aquilani is also named despite having been rushed to hospital last night with a head injury suffered during the same match.
A total of 30 hopefuls have been vying for places in Prandelli’s selection over the past couple of weeks, though Montolivo’s misfortune meant that number was reduced to 29 by today.
Following training at Coverciano this afternoon, a further six players also learned they had fallen at the final hurdle in their efforts to secure a role in Rio - Destro, Ranocchia, Pasqual, Rossi, Maggio and Verona’s Romulo.
Ranocchia will however continue to be a part of the group until the latest possible date and will act as the Azzurri’s first reserve in case of any more injuries.
Attention will now turn to the Azzurri’s final home friendly, against Luxembourg on Wednesday, before the team fly out to Brazil on Thursday evening.
Italy’s 23-man World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), Perin (Genoa), Sirigu (Paris St. Germain);
Defenders: Abate (Milan), Barzagli (Juventus), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), Darmian (Torino), De Sciglio (Milan), Paletta (Parma);
Midfielders: Aquilani (Fiorentina), Candreva (Lazio), De Rossi (Roma), Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris St. Germain), Parolo (Parma), Pirlo (Juventus), Verratti (Paris St. Germain);
Forwards: Balotelli (Milan), Cassano (Parma), Cerci (Torino), Immobile (Torino), Insigne (Napoli).