Friday April 18 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Diamanti

As Alessandro Diamanti admits that he is struggling with the climate in China, Mark Siglioccolo asks if he can handle the heat in Brazil.

Looking at his statistics for the season, there is certainly a case to be made for Alessandro Diamanti to be taken to the World Cup. Ten goals and nine assists in 31 appearances, spanning across four competitions and two national Leagues, is not to be sniffed at. His debut for the Chinese Super League and Asian Champions League holders Guangzhou Evergrande proved decisive as he scored a brace to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Melbourne Victory in the ACL, helping them to a 4-2 victory. Diamanti's record in that competition currently stands at three goals in four games, yet the obvious argument is, have those been scored against quality opposition?

It is no secret that Asian football is not of the standard of top European Leagues, evidenced on the basis that they failed to make an impact at the Club World Cup. Yet money is being heavily invested and well-known names have flown east. Marcello Lippi, who led Italy to their first World Cup in 24 years in 2006 raised a few eyebrows when he took over at Evergrande six years later. Yet in just two seasons he has won four trophies for the club, significant for a player in Diamanti who will be 31 in two weeks, and has yet to win his first.

But is money and glory really worth sacrificing the chance to represent your nation at a World Cup? In terms of his geographical location, Diamanti has already narrowed his chances by making himself ineligible due to FIFA regulations to be tested for fitness along with the initial group of players in Cesare Prandelli's plans. Not only that, but the player has publicly admitted that playing outside of the peninusla is proving a problem: “The only thing I am struggling with a little more is the hot and humid climate, but I'm sure that's just a question of time.” With less than two months until the Mondiale, time is one commodity that he does not have.

Diamanti is Andrea Pirlo's dead-ball deputy and counterpart, and can be lethally effective when a free-kick or corner favours a left footed player. He is cool from the spot, as England already know far too well, and he can play through the middle or down the wings. Marco Parolo, Alessandro Florenzi and Emanuele Giaccherini present younger alternatives and serious threats to his place, but Diamanti offers unbridled determination and enthusiasm which combined with his eye for a pass could at the very least make him a valuable asset as an impact substitute.

Brazil will be far more physically exerting than China, but whilst it may appear that Diamanti has shot himself in his cultured left foot, perhaps he remains as Prandelli's ace in the hole.

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Have your say...
It is very tough not to take Immobile and Cerci after such a great performance and year they are having so far. Lots of confidence and Rossi will be ready as well. Having said that, I really was impressed and do like Diamanti. He has a great left foot and is another great option to have for crosses and dead ball situations. I would like to see him go to Brazil in the reserves and use him if there is an injury
on the 24th April, 2014 at 5:39pm
Absolutely needs to go. The lad is a master in corners and free kicks. Not only this, the lad is playing currently where there is heat and humidity therefore will be used to the climate. I want him in the squad.
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 12:09pm
Dont need him. We have balotelli. He can take free kicks, penalties and everything. Leave pirlo, diamanti, insigne, monto aside. Even if he brings them the only man needed in all situations is balotelli.
Forza italia
Forza the greatest italian to ever grace the football pitch, mario balotelli!
on the 20th April, 2014 at 2:40pm
88 minute ,,,,Italy free kick,,,,no Pirlo,,, he's been substituted,,,,no Insigne,,,not picked,,,, who is going to take the free kick???? Balotelli?? ' no,,,, so diamanté steps up,,,,curls the ball over the wall,,,into the top left hand corner,,, joe hart beaten,,, picture the scenario??? Oh no diamanté is eating Chinese in China!!! So guess what?? Up steps Poli,,, free kick master,,,, errrrr,,,, straight into row 47!!!!

Diamanté has to go to Brazil. Ok,.......
on the 19th April, 2014 at 8:33pm

Where's Destro?????? Are you serious???your squad is appalling!!
on the 19th April, 2014 at 7:04pm
Poli????? Ahead of diamanté???do you want to win??or are u west ham fan?? Safe!!!
I really do not get my fellow bloggers. We are Italy. Let's play to win. Diamanté has to go to Brazil no more debate.
on the 19th April, 2014 at 7:00pm
To Rahul
Your squad will not win a game!!!!
Fellow bloggers you need diamanté in the squad!!!!!

The guys free kicks are amazing.
I reckon all the bloggers that say no are ENGLISH!!!!!!'

Please learn about football,,,you will not win games with average players,,, you need the unpredictable,, I really have had enough of fellow bloggers who do not understand that you need unpredictable,,,not just safe!!!
on the 19th April, 2014 at 6:56pm
my 23 man squad for the Wc
Gk= buffon-scuffet-sirigu
Defence= chiellini-paletta-ranocchia-bonucci-de sciglio-darmian-abate
MF=pirlo-de rossi-motta-verratti-candreva-parolo-marchisio-poli
Forwards=immobile-balotelli-rossi-el shaarawy-cerci
on the 19th April, 2014 at 6:21am
He should go for the reserve. When Italy need a score and can do nothing in the game , send him to the field . He can make the game change with his skill of passing and set piece. He can be a Joker.
on the 19th April, 2014 at 1:36am
on the 18th April, 2014 at 9:55pm
Only if there is an injury crisis.

There is no way the likes of Cerci, Immobile, Insigne or Destro should be overlooked for Diamanti.
on the 18th April, 2014 at 1:57pm
I think he should go. Played well for Italy in the Euro 2012, and always causes problems for the other teams not mention he can score from fee kicks from time to time
on the 18th April, 2014 at 12:41pm
My 23: Buffon, Sirigu, Perin; Chiellini, Barzagli, Paletta, Astori; Di Sciglio, Darmian, Antonelli, Pasqual; De Rossi, Pirlo, Motta, Verratti, Jorginho, Candreva, Florenzi; Destro, Immobile, Cerci, Cassano, & then one from Rossi, Balotelli or Insigne. I find that choosing cb's & fb's is the toughest part: Aside from Chiellini & MDS, I'm not entirely convinced with any of our defensive options. I like Diamanti a lot but it just goes to show how many decent options we have in MF & Att.
on the 18th April, 2014 at 11:55am
He has quality and is tried and tested in tournament play for La Nazionale,he also coped well with the conditions in Brazil last summer. Personally I would have him as a reserve as I think we need to start looking at new blood now and building for the future.
on the 18th April, 2014 at 10:48am
Won't his experience playing in a hot and humid climate actually be beneficial to the Azzurri? Will it not be hot and humid in Brazil? Anyway, I'm split with this one. When he first burst on the Italy scene I was sceptical, but some good performances in Euro 2012 changed my mind. I think that Brazil may be a bridge too far, but there's no doubt, Diamanti possesses some very good qualities. I'd place him on the periphery of selection and wait and see if any others get injured etc.
on the 18th April, 2014 at 10:25am

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