Monday April 7 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Destro

As the battle amongst Italy’s goalscorers intensifies, Jeremy Lim explores an aspect that could tip the odds in Mattia Destro’s favour.

In such form are Italy’s striking candidates that even taking a player with double scoring figures to the World Cup can feel like an unnecessary luxury. But that is exactly the situation Mattia Destro could find himself in this summer.

After being reborn for Roma, the 23-year-old is pushing relentless to make the plane bound for Brazil this summer. Destro had spent months on the sidelines nursing his way back from persistent knee trouble, and now looks as if he’s intent to make up for every minute lost. The rejuvenated forward’s hat-trick on Sunday took his tally to 13 - or a goal every 85 minutes - heightening debate on who Cesare Prandelli should take.

There is still a distinct possibility he might be overlooked - again. Fabio Borini had already shown him up for the final berth in Prandelli’s squad ahead of Euro 2012, despite Destro’s breakthrough season where he netted 12 goals in 30 appearances for Siena. A double heartbreak would surely be too much to take then, although he’s refusing to show it. “I do my work every Sunday and try to help Roma as best I can. That is all I can do,” the Ascoli native towed the party line yesterday, after his first treble of goals since 2010.

Whether Destro has a place in the final reckoning or not, there is no denying his transformation into the genuine article, and indeed, his turnaround after injury is impressive. His return against Fiorentina last December immediately coincided with a shot high into the back of Neto’s net, and it’s safe to say the fledgling bomber hasn’t bothered looking back since.

After Destro’s excellent scoring statistics, a less obvious aspect that strikes onlookers later is an excellent work ethic and willingness to sacrifice from the team. Played in the area he guarantees a goal presence and clinical edge, but away from the box the former Inter youth is distinctly mobile. Understated in the task of ploughing the channels, Destro offers an outlet for a long punt from defence, and the ability to initiate moves of his own.

His traits when deeper certainly aren’t lost on Rudi Garcia, the one responsible for his swift resurgence. “He proved that he is not only a box striker, but a complete forward,” the Giallorossi boss explained after Destro’s latest feats against Cagliari. “Even when he plays out wide he can spread his influence in different areas. It’s true that when Francesco Totti isn’t playing, Destro is a very useful centre-forward.”

Yet it has been Destro’s pitchside understanding with The King of Rome, displayed together from March, that is driving Roma’s title challenge to great heights. His level of industry for the team has only helped Totti and the capital club better express themselves. And if goals are not enough to distinguish Destro from his Italy counterparts, then this trait is why he could prove to be a most worthy sidekick to partner Mario Balotelli from the off in Manaus.

Having already shown he has a couple more aces up his sleeve, count on Destro doing whatever it takes to make the trip with the Azzurri for real this time.

Have your say...
on the 9th May, 2014 at 5:43am
Destro the future Vieri Immobile the future Inzaghi hope they both go
on the 14th April, 2014 at 11:27pm
3-4-3...let juve take care of def...chiellini, barzagli, bonnuci....mid...giaccherini, insigne/pirlo,
Candreva....immobile, balotelli, destro up will never happen, but teams would be hard pressed to stop that attack and still find it difficult to score against the juve back line...just a thought !!
on the 14th April, 2014 at 3:26am
@ Maldivian heir
You need to see someone !!
You keep going on about Balo telly!!!!

I have decided you must be his brother !! You keep trying to defend the indefensible!!!
Other strikers are more worthy!!! Simples!
on the 12th April, 2014 at 5:06am
I hope he does prove me wrong. But he hasnt so far! the balotelli show hasnt been anything to make me eat my words. I think youl look more ridiculous because iv seen your comments regarding balotelli on previous blogs and based on his portfolio he has done nothing to merit the hype. Scoring couple of goals against germany, I dont think is enough to keep players (destro/immob) on the bench or out of the squad so that balotelli can have a secured place, his form this season is terrible!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 10:15pm
Yes to be taken as he can also play as a 2nd forward and he is an excellent goal mouth goal scorer.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 12:05pm
@ anonymous I'm lost. Last time I checked Balo hadn't punched anyone. If he does he'll likely be dropped the same way as De Rossi. There's no double standards. Its pretty clear cut looking at Prandelli's approach. Get over it. The way I see it you're in a terrible catch 22. If Balo has a terrible tournament then you're proven right and Italy go out and if he has good tournament then you're proven wrong and Italy might go far. I prefer hedging my bets thanks (and getting behind my team).
on the 9th April, 2014 at 3:52pm
Like I said, balotelli scores goals. And lots of them. We need no other strikers. Leave it to balotelli. His consistency will see us through 1st game to the last. Balotelli could have a full on punch up on the field n prandelli will still pick him. Destro and the venomous punch on sunday mean prandelli has the excuse needed to leave him out and bring his other love- gilardino! As long as prandelli, balo, gila, oswaldo, motta are with italy- we will not win another cup!
on the 9th April, 2014 at 2:49pm
@ anonymous and Baggiot class balotelli not! You guys are obsessed. I think you need to see someone. I presume its ok for Destro and De Rossi to punch people??? I'm not even getting into this. Injury permitting Balo's going to the World Cup so you're going to have to get over your hmmm 'dislike' of Balo. I'm sure you've both got very objective reasons. It's lack of goals right?
on the 8th April, 2014 at 3:22pm
@ Al I agree. I think Insigne offers a different option especially cutting in on the left hand side. I'm less interested in his goals v his already contribution. I'd like to see either him or rejuvenated SES go as I think they'll offer more variety to our attack. I think each striker needs to offer something different and all strikers should be able to play on the same pitch if we're a goal down with 5 mins to go or want to avoid pens v Germany like in 2006!!!
on the 8th April, 2014 at 10:43am
@Baggio class balotelli not!
Balo scores. Not very often but he does. Hes well behaved, hard working, consistant, energetic, creative, hes not selfish, always thunking of his team mates, positioning is astonishing, finishing is exquisite.. id leave all the strikers at home and just bring him! Based on his 5 great mins againsy germany in the euros with his 2 goals and the goal against bologna! Thats enough to merit the hype, guaranteed team selection and fist team place. Who needs immob n destro?
on the 8th April, 2014 at 8:53am
Everyone who says Insigne isn't ready or is having a bad season is dumb. He hasn't put in a lot of goals but when he did they were 2 in the champions league a beauty against Borussia and another in Europa knockouts and he also has a solid amount of assists. He is a playmaker and the bigger the stage the better he is. Paone is rite about his unpredictable element.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 10:11pm
My thoughts were based on the story I have read that Totti will not be included for the squad. A shame because he's creativity is much needed in the final squad that's why I would take Cassano anyway as a 6th striker. I like Insigne alot but the other guys are in better form & I'd consider him for the Euros unless Rossi cannot recover in time.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 9:53pm
Does balo ever score??????????
on the 7th April, 2014 at 9:53pm
All I can say is I hope Rossi is fit and able to go, without him playing we are in trouble. We don't have anyone clinical enough. Shame we did not use inzaghi more when we had the chance as whatever people say he always took his chances. Rossi is the only one close to that now, perhaps destro as well. Balo needs to live up to the hype, Rooney looks prolific compared to Balo at the moment and that tells its own story. Fingers crossed for Rossi...forza Italia!!!! :D
on the 7th April, 2014 at 9:37pm
Rossi will not be in game shape or in any form if he comes back in May (plus the risk of re-injury to his knee) and Insigne is not ready for the big time, yet. Destro, Immobile, Balo, Cerci and if Cassano is fit, then he should be included as well. Would love to see Totti go, and I wouldn't be upset if Toni got a call-up either, as he is in some great form
on the 7th April, 2014 at 4:25pm
Destro and immobile.... both must go. Young, energetic and actually score goals!
on the 7th April, 2014 at 4:07pm
Onofrio's 5/6 are clearly the guys that belong in Brazil. Insigne has not had a good year and Osvaldo and Gilardino are second rate.

Both Destro and Immobile should go to the World Cup. I have no idea how anyone could rationalize otherwise.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:59pm
@Onofrio Sanfilippo

Agree with all the players you have mentioned, only other player who I think deserves a mention is Insigne, he has an unpredictable element about it which could be useful in tight games.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:17pm
@Onofrio Sanfilippo

Agree with your list of players, only other one I think who needs a mention is Insigne, he has an unpredictable element about him that could be useful.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:13pm
my favorite world cup squad;

Buffon, Sirigu, Scuffet

Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonnuci, Paletta, De Sciglio, Maggio, Criscito

Motta, De Rossi, Pirlo, Verratti, Marchisio/Flortenzi, Candreva, Giaccherini, Montolivo/

Balotelli, Destro, Rossi/Cassano, Cerci, Insigne/Immobile
on the 7th April, 2014 at 2:24pm
It is a tough one whether to take destro or immobile personally I can't pick between the two. The situation being what it is with g rossi and with ses this season there has been the opportunity to make a case for a player like destro to go to the world cup, I think people take it for granted that g rossi will be fit for the world cup.

If it was up to me insigne g rossi cassano cerci balotelli and one of destro/immobile. I also would suggest giovinco and paloschi could be options.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 1:48pm
@ Onofrio Sanfilippo I agree. For me its between Destro, Toni, Immobile and I still say Gila (for his work rate) as our "center forward". Balo needs the flexibility to either play up front or with a front two. If Rossi can't make it than Cassano would be an ideal replacement. If Rossi can make it then I'd still take Cassano and lose another CF. It's a shame that Insigne has sort of fizzled out and SES would need to hit serious form if he were to stand a chance after his injuries this season.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 1:06pm
forza destro! cesare, give him a plane ticket!
on the 7th April, 2014 at 12:42pm
Without Doubt Destro has to start for the Azzurri alongside Balotelli with Cassano just behind them. Rossi should sit it out on the bench if he is not 100%. Destro has got what the others don't and that is clinical finishing. I can't see how even Prandelli could overlook his recent form for Roma. Italy have an excellent midfield and forward line and if the manager picks right (i.e NO MONTY, NO MAGGIO, NO OSVALDO etc) then they have a good chance of semi-final at least.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 12:20pm
100%.. 13 goals in 18 games.
Unfortunately he wont start and probably wont feature in much of the wc due to cp love affair with gilardino and of course balotelli (who could go a whole season without scoring a goal and still be the only guaranteed striker, which is a disgrace). 3years and cp has not changed anything, we go to wc with players who havnt played in national team bcoz he wasted 3 years on gila, oswaldo and balo!
on the 7th April, 2014 at 11:44am

Not a bad forward line is it
on the 7th April, 2014 at 11:13am

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