So there we have it.
Seven Juventus players, four Milan, two representatives of Napoli, Roma and Paris Saint-Germain, and one each from Parma, Palermo, Bologna, Udinese, Torino and Manchester City.
These are the 23 men tasked with restoring a nation’s pride at Euro 2012 after “the most humiliating, mortifying page in the history books,” as Corriere dello Sport described Marcello Lippi's Italy showing at World Cup 2010.
Like a sculptor, Cesare Prandelli has chiselled away at his squad, and over the next few days the debate will rage as to whether what has been revealed is a masterpiece or an eyesore. In truth his final two omissions, announced this morning, were not especially controversial. Andrea Ranocchia made just 12 Serie A appearances for Inter during the season past and looked ungainly and unsure of himself in most of them. Mattia Destro had an excellent campaign in the provinces but aged 21 and with no senior international experience, his summons would have been a surprise. His time will surely come.
The controversy came yesterday, when a series of raids and arrests began with a 4am raid of Chievo captain Sergio Pellissier's property in Fenis and swept across the country. The most high profile and damaging intervention was the one made at Italy's Coverciano training base, where Domenico Criscito was informed that he is under investigation and had his room searched. The Zenit St Petersburg defender was later dropped from the squad.
It is a sad reflection of the current situation in Italy that a week before the European Championships commence more attention is being paid to the pronouncements of Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino than those made by Prandelli regarding his final 23.
However, even as headlines like 'Blitz at Coverciano' and 'National side in chaos' leap out from today's Corriere and Gazzetta dello Sport, the idea that the 'Last Bet' furore will have much of an adverse effect on the Azzurri squad is being dismissed. “It could push them to show the clean face of football,” commented Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, whilst over 60 per cent of respondents to a poll on Gazzetta's website have agreed that the 2006 World Cup triumph proves 'these things cement a group'.
Therefore, our attention can return to personnel, and one of the first things to strike you on perusal of the final 23, is that it’s slightly lopsided. Assuming he persists with his favoured 4-3-1-2, Prandelli has broken the golden rule of having two players for every position, heading to Poland with just seven defenders to cover four positions and five forwards to fill two berths up front. In contrast, joint favourites Spain and Germany have selected only three forwards, but they both have an abundance of attacking midfield talent, whereas Italy are having to rely on the likes of Alessandro Diamanti and Emanuele Giaccherini in that area, a duo that were employed by Lega Pro clubs not so long ago.
That 4-3-1-2 assumption could be a dangerous one though, as the clamour for Prandelli to introduce a 3-5-2 alternative grows in strength. Not only is it a formation the Juventus contingent found success with domestically, it’s also the system Diamanti, Sebastian Giovinco, Federico Balzaretti and Christian Maggio played in for their respective clubs this season.
Criscito could hardly be described as a key player but had performed well throughout qualifying and may well have been Prandelli's first choice left back during the competition if not for yesterday’s events. In his absence, the versatility of centre-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Angelo Ogbonna, who can both play left-back if required, could be significant.
Mimmo aside, none of the seven cuts made yesterday were surprising, or unjust. The likes of Marco Verratti simply weren't ready. Instead, if La Nazionale fail to progress from Group C, the focus will fall on those that Prandelli didn't even deem worthy of his provisional 32. Alberto Aquilani, Simone Pepe, Giampaolo Pazzini and Alessandro Matri, to name a few.
Fabio Quagliarella didn't have the best of seasons but may be perturbed to see that he isn't considered amongst Italy's top five strikers, and Fabio Borini is, especially given his spectacular but sadly futile contribution against Slovakia in Johannesburg two years ago. Then again, a youngster desperate to make his name, and who the opposition are less familiar with, is a valuable weapon at major tournaments.