Saturday November 2 2013
Give Cassano a go

Not since the Euro 2012 Final has Cesare Prandelli called Antonio Cassano. Frank Tigani thinks it’s about time that he does. 

Giorgio Chiellini passed to Antonio Cassano and with a little swivel he brushed off the attentions of both Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng. A floating cross on his weaker left evaded Mario Badstuber and met the head of Mario Balotelli, who buried it home. Italy were a goal up and on their way to the final of Euro 2012, thanks to Cassano’s little moment of magic.

From an Italian perspective, the less said about the Final against Spain the better. Cassano only played 45 minutes of the game at Kiev’s Olympic stadium, taken off at half-time for Antonio Di Natale. He has not appeared for the Azzurri since.

And the question has to be asked as to why.

Cassano believes Cesare Prandelli does have a reason, though he is not sure what it is and in any case he is not letting it get him down. “Prandelli hasn’t called me up for a year and a half. If for that amount of time he called everyone except me then he must have a reason in his mind, even though I don’t know or understand what it is. Never mind, I won’t cry about it,” he recently revealed.

But exactly what is Prandelli’s reasoning? Last season for a very poor Inter side, Cassano was one of the few shining lights. He was the club’s leading provider of assists while only Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio scored more. He may have left the Nerazzurri in rather acrimonious circumstances, just like he did with Milan a year earlier, but at Parma the diminutive forward has continued to produce the goods on the field. With his four goals and three assists thus far this season, he has created or scored more goals than everyone in Serie A aside from Giuseppe Rossi, Francesco Totti and Alessio Cerci.

What is more, unlike he used to do in his earlier days, Cassano is committed to his football. The circus sideshow that once earned him the name FantAntonio has gone. He is more mature and professional now. Parma Coach Roberto Donadoni has certainly noticed it. “Cassano is working well since pre-season, has lost at least 7-7.5kg and is once again wanting to prove to all the champion he is.” Parma President Tommaso Ghirardi has given him similar praise. “People told me I was mad when I signed Cassano, but he has been professional both on the field and off it.”

An Azzurri regular under Prandelli until Euro 2012, it is curious as to why he has just simply been discarded. It is not like any new talents have emerged to take his place, definitely not one of Cassano’s ilk. And given his rare talent, it makes it all the more harder to understand.

As a young player, Cassano was very much heralded as Italy’s new fantasista: the type of player whose creative genius could decide matches with either a wonderful goal or by creating one for his teammates, like he did against Germany a year and a half ago.

Though he has not achieved half of what he could have were it not for his lack of discipline, Cassano remains a player Italy could really do with come Brazil. One who in an instant can change the course of a match. And when it comes to big tournaments, as the likes of Roberto Baggio, Andrea Pirlo and Cassano himself have shown down the years, this is sometimes all it takes.

Read more from Frank Tigani at The Divine Ponytail

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
prandelli is a stupid coachm sub par at best. Italy has 4 draws in its LAST 4 GAMES, we couldn't beat armania and Denmark and you ppl are serious about this team??? if this is the team we bring to brazil, if players like Osvaldo, gilardino,candreva, destroy are going to be our strikers than we will be worst than 2010. wheres totti? wheres toni? wheres cassano?? this Italy will be a shame of the wqorld cup, THANK GOD WERE GETTING ANOTHER COACH, prandelli is GARBAGE. never did anything with fiore
on the 8th January, 2014 at 11:09pm
Rossi Balotelli

Cassano Totti

Montlivio De Rossi

Chiellini Barzagli Candreva


I'd play this team and yes, Cassano should be in starting 11 ... he's quality and opponents would have problems if Totti, Cassano, Pirlo ever got on the ball. Word.
on the 9th December, 2013 at 8:19am
We have younger players now that we should be concentrating on instead of worrying about the old guard so to speak.

AL does have a very good point that over the years, Cassano's lack of discipline has costed him more glory & respect.

Cassano has missed the glory boat & can only blame himself.

Why would you bring Cassano back when, if you want to bring a mature 'trequartista' back, you would choose TOTTI without a doubt.
on the 14th November, 2013 at 1:30am
We should be more concerned about the defenders rather than the midfield or strikers.
on the 9th November, 2013 at 11:22pm
Yup "gotta agree with AL on that one. Now imgagine this midfield from left to right,Cigarinni,Verratti,Pirlo in the middle, Francesco Lodi center right and far right Marchisio.On a 3/5/2 formation. Totti Cassano Motta and De Rossi also last Criscito. Montolivo only if more than half of the team is injured I'd put him in. I'm a BIG fan of his.
on the 6th November, 2013 at 5:29pm
Ciga is the best midfielder in Italy better than pirlo at this point of Andreas career .
on the 5th November, 2013 at 7:13pm
Love the guy, and while his technique is unquestioned, his fitness and form is stop-start.

Gotta base my decision on the best 23 come June 2014 and this is my take:


Buffon, Sirigu, Perin

Abate, Bonucci, Chiellini, Criscito
De Sciglio, Ranocchia, Ogbonna, Santon

De Rossi, Cigarini, Marchisio
Poli, Verratti, Florenzi

Cerci, Balotelli, Insigne
Candreva, Destro, El Shaarawy
on the 5th November, 2013 at 5:44pm
In terms of the actual squad. This is what I feel it would look like come June 2014:

Buffon, Sirigu & Marchetti

Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, Maggio, Balzaretti, Ogbonna & Abate

Pirlo, Marchisio, De Rossi, Candreva, Florenzi, Montolivo & Motta

Balotelli, Cerci, Totti, Rossi, Insigne & Gilardino.

I think Montolivo should be replaced by Verratti. Aquilani should be nowhere near. Astori, Antonelli, Criscito, Poli, De Sciglio, De Sanctis, Ledesma & Parolo are good backups for the positions.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 10:08am
I don't think Cassano deserves another chance. His fitness wouldn't suffice in the heat or altitude of Brazil. For me, the six forwards Prandelli should be bringing are:


I would consider Quagliarella or Diamanti over Insigne or Gilardino depending on form. The likes of Toni, Pazzini, ElSha, Di Natale, Cassano, Osvaldo and Giaccherini are still great options, and a lot of countries would be envious of that talent pool.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 10:01am
Just a thought, In the heat the azzurri will play in, "BRAZIL" the italian endurance is a complete "MUST". Cassano would be a great sub in the 2nd half at the 60th minute not to mention Totti also,keep your [Vets] as subs and let the insigne's the cerci's also the G rossi's and if you insist el sharaway with Balotelli.HeeeYyyyy? let's not forget Quagliaella this dude plays BIG on the world stage.Please no more Montolivo,we can do way better.....
on the 4th November, 2013 at 7:46pm
@commonsense I definitely agree with cigar ini who is excellent and much better than Veratti with more experience.
on the 4th November, 2013 at 6:33pm
In terms of creation Cassano is one of the best options for the Azzurri. When he played with Rossi Italy looked like a well oiled machine. I always thought Miccoli was another great player that can create heaps, take great corners and cause deadball mayhem. Di Natale deserved more credit and an automatic selection for the Azzurri as well since he has been a fixture at the top of the Serie A scoring table for the past years.
on the 4th November, 2013 at 2:11am
Jeeeezzzzzzzz"""" does anybody know Francesco Lodi the most underrated mid/supp player in italy look up his play and free kicks, the most complete vice Pirlo out there. Under 30 yrs old what a monster and also Luca Cigarini another big underrated midfielder who can also play support striker. We have the ingredients but we just need to put it together. "Just a thought"..........
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 8:47pm
Luca Toni = 9 matches with 5 goals and 7 assists
Antonio Cassano = 11 matches with 4 goals and 3 assists

Including Toni is no more ridiculous than Cassano, the only chance for Cassano is a secondary striker behind balotelli and he will get eaten up by likes of pricks like david luiz and be unable to track back. A greasy 200 pound Luca Toni is better than any other striker right now and that is indeed messed up.
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 7:03pm
I'm glad Sassuolo are giving Domenico Berardi a chance in Serie A, he's looking like a good prospect and scoring some goals. Could he be a wild card pick for the WC if he continues to score ?
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 6:21pm
And one other thing.. it's refreshing to read someone who understands football instead of reading all the stupidness by people who don't really watch Seria A and ramble about nothing here, lets leave the next generation for the next world cup they will be ready for the big stage then, taking this bunch totti balo Cass ross, quags insig will give us a good mix of youth and experience, lets leave the giachh's and Asvaldo's behind and truly take the fire and fury to brazil !
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 5:51pm
Johnny B is exactly right on the money with his selections, these are the Best players at the moment for italy, the reason Cassano has not been selected is due to Prandelli's desire to give italy's youth a chance on the big stage with the hope that they show something big, Quags the most underrated forward we have and needs to play for Italy, give the the next world cup to the youth prandelli needs to select this bunch to lift our 5th world cup in Brazil ! Cass, tott, ball, Quags, insig, ross
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 5:33pm
Finally an article worth reading and a question that definitely needs to be answered. How odd we find ourselves in the same predicament as just before the 2010 WORLD CUP. History does indeed repeat itself and we are doomed to repeat the results of the 2010 WORLD CUP with the current team Prandelli is selecting. Cassano is desperately needed on the Azzurri. Players like Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, DeRossi should be put under a microscope instead.
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 1:47pm
Lol some funny choices there Toni eeven Pepe lol. I think Cassano and Totti should be on the team.They are correct neither will be able to play 90 minutes but 45 minutes each every game? Can we have another Mazzola, Rivera combo? Totti and Cassano are huge talents and Italy needs them
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 11:43am
As the article says he has provided more assists and goals apart from Rossi, Cerci and Totti…that's why he hasn't ben picked! Cassano is too injury prone and not fit enough for 90 minutes let alone the heat of Brazil and playing every 3 days. I would bring Insigne, Florenzi, Rossi, Cerci and someone other than Osvaldo or Balotelli
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 8:19am
Cassano was no where to be seen against Juve tonight. chiellini created more chances than he did.
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 12:36am
Totti will only do well at Roma, and will not be able to play competitively at the World Cup where the resting time between games is short. He will get injured or fatigued, and that does'nt mean he is not a great player, he still is. Cassano is no good for Italy, he will not score goals. He will be a pain in the arse. We have other talent now. As for you Johnny bananas you are abit silly.
on the 3rd November, 2013 at 12:34am
Cassano also played great with Rossi before they both got injured. During that time i felt like finally after ages Italy had found solid attacking duo.

and 4 spots to who is on form next spring.

Totti, Cassano, Osvaldo, Insigne, SES could be solid candidates all.
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 10:13pm
Some of the comments here are ignorant. Talking about his advanced age or what he's done to warrant a call-up...have any of you even watched Serie A this season? He's been fantastic at Parma, playing great football. And calling Insigne overrated? Wow, such ignorance by many.


Those are the top 6, in no order, that should be in conversation right now. After the World Cup is complete, then you can consider names such as Gabbiadini and El Shaarawy
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 9:11pm
What has cassano really done to warrant a call up. I would never look back band its the younger stars cp should we looking to. If cp wanted to call on one olkd head its Totti that deserves the call not cassano, but I would take neither.
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 8:02pm
Cassano should be in the squad he is a top top player. Its a joke that he hasn't played since euro final. Gila and Giovinco are rubbish and Osvaldo is hot and cold. Cassano, Balo, Rossi, Insigne and Quags are dead certs for me. The other 1 place is between Totti/Di Natale/Osvaldo/Gabbiadini. Cesare needs to sort it out, in the confeds cup and qualifiers we have badly missed Cassano, Rossi and Quags. Cesare will pick the wrong players for Brazil I just know it.
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 7:17pm
Time too look forwards not backwards.
Cassano is the past, never fulfilled his potential.
Now he is slow and getting lazy. And he is a bananahead as well. What he did too Milan after they saved his life on the plane is still unbelievable for me. Lots of younger players coming through.
I see Balo, Rossi, El Shaarawy and another tall striker, maybe Insigne too as he can cause chaos with his runs.
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 7:12pm
Call Quagliarella & Pepe. Drop the jokes of forwards such as Osvaldo, El Shaarawy, etc. Then, Azzurri frontline will be fine.
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 6:38pm
Toni, Balotelli, Cerci, Rossi, Florenzi, Insigne, De Rossi, Pirlo, Giacherini, Candreva, Maggio, Pasqual, Abate, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Bonucci, Barlzagli, Ogbonna, Criscito, Buffon, Sirigu

Pick 2:

Totti, Cassano, Gabbiadini, Giovinco
Montolivio,Marchisio (both are duds but midfielders are needed perhaps even Poli would do better or even the old hag Ambrosini)
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 5:36pm
Prandelli used the qualifiers to see how good the other strikers are. He has probably come to the conclusion that Giovinco, Osvaldo, Gilardino aren't good enough. After xmas i expect him to start calling up the strikers who he will take to Brazil. Balo is probably the only certainty to go. The other 4/5 positions will be filled by whose in form and fit. Rossi will probably go if fit and in form, El Shaaraway too. 1 or 2 of Totti/Di Natale/Cassano. Another target man, probably Gila.
on the 2nd November, 2013 at 5:19pm

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