Friday March 7 2014
Verratti must go to Brazil

Despite showing good club form, Marco Verratti continues to struggle for chances with Italy. Cronan Yu urges Cesare Prandelli to give him a chance.

To many, it came as no surprise when French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain came knocking on the door, signalling their intent in poaching a then 19-year-old Marco Verratti from Pescara. Even with an impressive promotion campaign with the Delfini under his belt, many still questioned the motives of both the Parisians and player after the transfer was made official. Why were PSG keen on signing a player who had never played top-flight football before?

Fast forward two years, and it seems that the midfielder has lived up to the hype that has surrounded him since a tender age. And, having established himself as a crucial player in Laurent Blanc's set-up, Verratti must finally be given the chance to shine on the international stage, with no better place to prove his credentials than at the World Cup.

Throughout the entirety of this week’s friendly defeat to Spain, Italy appeared to lack creativity and rarely threatened the Spanish goal, perhaps due to the absence from the starting XI of Andrea Pirlo. Those struggles begged the question: Why didn’t Verratti have his opportunity?

For the 21-year-old, participating in the match would've been a learning curve for a player who remains relatively inexperienced on the international stage. In addition, the chance to take to the field against arguably one of the best midfield set-ups in the world would've been an indicator  as to how good he really is.

As it stands, PSG boasts arguably one of the best midfields in the Europe, so it seems baffling for Cesare Prandelli to have omitted the youngster entirely this midweek. This season, the French capital outfit have had an average share of approximately 60 per cent possession and boast of an 89 per cent passing completion rate - compelling stats which tell the story of what has been an emphatic season this far for the club. On an individual level, Verratti has contributed to that dominance with four assists, created 16 chances and boasts of a 91 per cent pass accuracy.

Under Ancelotti, Verratti was heavily criticised for taking his time on the ball. However, Blanc has helped him to develop into an almost Xavi Hernandez-esque player, and his ability to retain but also make use of possession is vital to PSG’s tactics. He has developed to the point where he has eclipsed Thiago Motta in terms of vitality. However, for Prandelli, it seems that the decision to select Verratti isn't as simple as it seems.

Whilst having introduced youngsters to his squad during his four years so far as CT, Prandelli has shown a hesitancy in selecting juniors ahead of their more experienced counterparts in the midfield department. Furthermore, the inclusion of Verratti would mean dropping one of the more established internationals in Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Pirlo, Riccardo Montolivo and Claudio Marchisio.

Verratti himself has suggested that he may not be getting the attention he might otherwise deserve as he continues to ply his trade in France, recently commenting: “Perhaps I'm being punished a bit because I ply my trade in France.”

Having already earned the respect of the French for his toils, it's time that the Italians too become aware of what Marco Verratti has to offer. The youngster must be given the chance to go Brazil - his omission could be detrimental to the Azzurri.

Have your say...
Starting 11 and subs


De Sciglio
Barzagli \ criscito
Abate / Maggio

De Rossi
Pirlo \ candreva \ marchisio ( 70th min substitution )

G Rossi
Balotelli \ totti \ cassano
Cerci \ Insigne \ cassano

Squad : buffon, sirigu, marchetti, chiellini, barzagli, abate, maggio, de sciglio, criscito, paletta, de rossi, motta, pirlo, marchisio, giaccherini ( or montolivo ), candreva, totti, cassano, giuseppe rossi, balotelli, insigne, cerci
on the 14th March, 2014 at 11:01pm
Criticism of Marchisio is unwarranted. He's been played well out of position, marginalized. Verratti shouldn't be ahead of him and I don't know that he can start with the trio...but it's arguable and he most certainly has to be on the plane to Brasil. He should be well ahead of Motta, who is neither Italian nor more deserving than others, namely Marco Verratti.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 4:25am
Italy Team v England:
Paletta, Chiellini, De Sciglio,
Abate, De Rossi, Pirlo, Candreva,
Bonaventura 10. (played too wide w/club)

Subs: sirigu-perin

barzagli - bonnucci - astori – criscito

maggio – cigarini - florenzi - giacherini -


Prandelli prob won't bring Cigarini and will bring Montolivo but should bring Bonaventura!
on the 11th March, 2014 at 1:48pm
After the Spain loss, the coach says, "The midfield, which in recent years has been a reference point, again gave us good guarantees," ... what game were you watching Cesar. I will say the reason he picked four at the back was to try Palleta at CD with full back support; it worked out and on this showing should be in starting 11. Prandelli has done a reasonable job but I'd fear for Italy that he'll will bring the wrong midfielders to Brazil.
on the 11th March, 2014 at 1:32pm
This means the coach thinks that these two are the best options for Italy even though they have shown over the past three years that they ain't! He might say that Marchisio is a runner and fills spaces but of course this contradicts his 'attacking' supposedly 'new' philosophy of Calcio. He hasn't given Cigarini a go in his latest squad and so called 'pre-World Cup training camp'. Both Cigarini and Bonaventura should be in the squad in MF; are head & shoulders superior than three mentioned!
on the 11th March, 2014 at 1:12pm
In the Confederations Cup, Marchisio & Montolivo (BTW, I used to like both originally) were ineffective. In German friendly, it was a woeful Montolivio who should have been off after HT, instead the coach takes off Osvaldo, who at the time was doing as much as Balotelli! Actually, Marchisio played okay without being brilliant v Germany but still not enough. Montolivio replaced v Nigeria, and both again went missing for Argentina!
on the 11th March, 2014 at 1:01pm
Up to now, I had been planning on putting a wager (you can get 25/1 presently) on Italy for WC, however, am not so sure anymore! Up to now I've thought that Cesare Prandelli had done a reasonable job. But what was Cesare Prandelli doing playing Spain yet again? Was it to see how the usual suspects in midfield Montolivio, Marchisio, Motta would be flattened one more time by Spain? Three years ago the first two played in MF in the Euro final and were nowhere.
on the 11th March, 2014 at 12:53pm

De Sciglio

De Rossi


Best possible lineup!!! Perfect mix of creativity and finishers...

Montolivo sucks, Marchisio shouldn't start, Motta sucks, Giaccherini is average at best (sometimes)
on the 9th March, 2014 at 9:29pm
Any Italian supporter should know that Italy in friendliest never play well but once the major tournament starts they are a dangerous team. I just really hope he brings el shaarawy after his injury cause he adds so much on the field
on the 9th March, 2014 at 9:13pm
Marchisio, Motta, Montolivo - all lazy when it comes to the Italian squad. This is what happens when they select a coach with too many morals. What happens if Pirlo is caught night clubing a week before they leave for the WC? or Buffon is found drinking too much a few days before the first game? Dose Prandelli disqualify them from the squad? He has to according to his law!I don't understand why they have him as coach, he is more concerned about making a "Bella Figura" than anything else.
on the 9th March, 2014 at 7:52pm
MV is gonna go. It is a little strange that CP leaves everyone in the dark on how hes going to play but that can also be an advantage. There have been many friendlies and CP has tried things, he has used a front 3 of Insigne Osvaldo and Florenzi. To me it seems like he is desperately looking for another system besides 3 in the back with DD Rossi as "sweeper". He seems like he wants a 4231 433 or 4312 but has not found the right balance for any of them. Hopefully he will know by June.
on the 8th March, 2014 at 7:44pm
Is our midfield really that good? Pirlo & DDR are exceptional, but after that I'd say that CP's MF selections are average. Motta isn't as bad as people make out & he is our only alternative to DDR. Marchisio & Monty are too timid & rarely show up for Italy. Verratti, Florenzi, Cigarini should be given an opportunity over those two. We, Italy, are doing it again, where we wait for players (like Verratti & Insigne) to hit 25 before giving them a run in the national team. 
on the 8th March, 2014 at 10:10am
Personally I would like to see Verratti go to the WC. The experience would be hugely beneficial to him as he is going to take over from Pirlo anyway. So wouldn't it just make sense for him to learn from the master in a tournament environment plus he has the attributes to contribute to the cause. He plays regular 1st team CL standard football for crying out loud. It would be crazy not to take him.
on the 8th March, 2014 at 9:03am
The line-up italy should use


Barzagli Bonucci
Abate/Maggio Chiellini

De Rossi

on the 8th March, 2014 at 7:08am
Why is it with Prandelli we've lost literally almost every game to Spain either in a friendly or in a competition tournament regardless of a tie or two and also regardless of shootouts, bottom line we lost period it is what it is. Mind you we also lost to Spain to shootouts in euro 2008 with Donadoni coaching and he was put under the guilotine pretty quick. So what are they waiting for with Prandelli that he goes BALD! fat chance on that one if you ask me. WHERE'S CONTE OR ANCELLOTTI OR MONTELLA
on the 8th March, 2014 at 4:29am
The thing that bother's me most of italy and the italian mentality is we tend to overthink the obvious which is staring in the what other countries do in friendly's don't be afraid to try your up and coming talent for pete's sake. What the hell is their to figure out put your fu@#$ ing youngsters out there not your retirees geeeeezzzzzz!!!!! C'mon..........
on the 8th March, 2014 at 3:54am
I think its FIGC making the decisions for the Italian coaches. Why not give opportunities to Verratti, Insigne, gabbi, destro,florenzi, mannone, santon and astori... not sure how many of yall Dutch league, Pelle (italian) is the league top striker. Why dont give him a chance? he has been that league for 3 season and he is the club top scorer for 2 seasons.. Does he need to wait till his 31 or playing in Serie A to get a call ? come on Azzurri... Be real and give youngsters a chance
on the 8th March, 2014 at 3:18am
Bring him, Pirlo might not have the legs in the second half of matches, Watch the highlights of Verratti against the dutch last year, turned the game around. He has to go to Brasil
on the 8th March, 2014 at 1:48am
astori - ogbonna

Giaccherini had a good confeds, but that was a year ago and he's not even playing for a garbage EPL team.

Marchisio gone downhill but there seems little threat to either of these making the squad.

Osvaldo's not my fav either but he could be good if focused. I doubt Destro/Immobile will go.
on the 8th March, 2014 at 1:23am
*immobile and destro NOT I mob and destroyed! Auto-fill is shocking!
on the 8th March, 2014 at 1:16am
Oops as for Verratti he looked poor against Spain in the Euro Under 21. He is not ready for prime time
on the 8th March, 2014 at 1:16am
Nope Spain has one of the best midfields not Italy. Our midfield is a worry. Pirlo is a legend but at the Confederation Cup he was ineffective, looked tired and old. De Rossi is a good defensive midfielder. Marchisio has disappointed this year and seems to be invisible most of the time and rarely handles the ball. Thiago Motta looks like he is getting old as well. Montolivo has been dreadful this year. If Pirlo is swarmed who will pass to Immobile, Balotelli and Rossi? Totti?
on the 8th March, 2014 at 1:13am
@ Viktor Verratti is a player for the future. That's what you call a talent. Not your "2 of the best fullbacks in the world, Abate & De Sciglio". I'll tell what YOU should do: quit watching football. I'm not surprised to see you now as you locked the door on yourself after the defeat in San Siro. 
on the 7th March, 2014 at 11:39pm
Florenzi, insigne, ses (when he was fit), immob, destro, gabbiandini, verratti, sau, astori etc etc. All proven goal scorers/defenders/midfielders... instead of these YOUNG, KEEN, ENERGETIC AND TALENTED players, wev seen gila who looks tired before the centre kicks even been taken, Osvaldo who couldn't even start at Southampton let alone at juve, Motta who is crap/slow/clueless, montolivo who has the vision of a blind person and barzagli who is slow and just rubbish, its an endless list of crap!
on the 7th March, 2014 at 11:27pm
I have no faith in CP. Web played Spain countless times under CP and web played 5 different formations! Played virtually the same players. He names a squad of 21 simply coz he has to we never see a complete overhaul! Web wasted years on gila, pazzini, Toni... he gets to the last friendly before WC and brings I mob and destroyed and plays them for 20min when I have seen Osvaldo play over and over and do nothing! None of our strikers actually score its shocking! I mob n destroyed could be amazing!
on the 7th March, 2014 at 11:08pm
Underlines the stupidity of CP! He doesn't pick a team based on form he picks the team of players he likes! We won't win anything while he's on the bench. We lost the euros bcoz of his lack of adventure with his squad selection. Even if he does include a few "surprises" we won't actually see them play' the mans clueless. All I hear is trying this trying that formation after formation new players old players yet I see the same crap game after game! He speaks of youth yet doesn't play any!
on the 7th March, 2014 at 11:02pm
We have to look beyond Pirlo, if he plays too much we will struggle. Pirlo doesn't have legs at the best of times let alone it very hot conditions. Our midfield is very good but sometimes too predictable.

I don't think some people realise how good verratti is, we should build the midfield around him. Yes Brazil might be a touch too soon for him but he has to go and has to play a big part.

IMO he is as good as pogba but in different ways

Forza Azzurri
on the 7th March, 2014 at 9:57pm
I think he should play, always ahead of Motta!! However right now he would be a back up to Pirlo unless Prandelli plays 4-2-3-1 or something even then he would more than likely go with Pirlo and Montolivo in front of defence. Veratti is the future for sure tho so he should just wait and learn from those around him.
on the 7th March, 2014 at 4:21pm
I really do not know what is going on in Prandellis mind.

Italy has 2 fantastic young players in Verratti and Insigne but yet again this frustrating Italian mentality to ignore such talented, classy players is beyond belief.

Instead we are seeing premiership rejects like Osvaldo & Giacherrini - such a joke!

Balotelli G Rossi
Pirlo/Montolivio De Rossi/Marchesio

De Sceglio Chiellini Panetta Maggio

Now that's a solide team!

Forza Italia
on the 7th March, 2014 at 4:21pm
The fact that Prandelli left him out of the game against Spain should be considered a crime. Veratti on current form is better than Marchisio and Montolivo combined and definitely offers more creativity than Montolivo would ever offer. He has to be in Brazil even if it means dropping a striker or defender to accommodate him. He has to go to Brazil. He is the best back-up to Pirlo. What if Pirlo gets injured in the tournament?? Has Prandelli even given thought to this???
on the 7th March, 2014 at 4:10pm

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