Wednesday May 7 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Osvaldo

Dani Osvaldo’s chances of making Italy’s World Cup squad seem increasingly remote, argues Luca Persico.

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo will always divide opinion. His unpredictable nature is both a strength and a weakness. It is deeply frustrating that a player who is capable of producing incredible moments of brilliance so easily lets himself down with bizarre episodes of petulance. For every overhead kick or brilliant solo effort, there is an ill-advised tweet on training ground bust up. In a tournament situation where a team’s fate can often be decided in an instant, Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli must decide whether Osvaldo is worth the risk.

At his best, the 28 year-old is a smart finisher, who links well with the right strike partner. Unfortunately for Osvaldo, his best has too often failed to materialise this season. A tough spell at Southampton yielded just three goals in 13 appearances, while he’s netted just twice in the Europa League for Juventus, who he joined in January after a training ground bust-up with defender Jose Fonte.

Osvaldo’s dip in form is ill-timed, with many of his World Cup competitors enjoying excellent campaigns. This season, 11 Italian forwards have netted 12 goals or more in Serie A. Of those, Ciro Immobile, Giuseppe Rossi, Domenico Berardi, Mattia Destro, Antonio Cassano, Alberto Gilardino, Alessio Cerci and Mario Balotelli, plus Lorenzo Insigne, are in contention for a World Cup berth.

Prandelli took five forwards to both Euro 2012 and the 2013 Confederations Cup and will likely select a similar amount once more. If we assume Balotelli is guaranteed a spot, then Osvaldo is fighting with eight players - most of whom are younger and in better form - for four places. The odds don’t favour the Buenos Aires native, nor does his record with the Azzurri.

Osvaldo has netted a reasonable four goals in 12 appearances at international level, the last of which came in a 2-2 draw with Denmark. He’s best known, however, for his role in the reverse fixture, where he was foolishly sent off 16 seconds into the second half for lashing out at Nicolai Stokholm. Italy went on to win the match 3-1, but it did little to show he can control himself in big matches.

Prandelli brought Osvaldo back into the squad after his suspension, but come the Confederations Cup, he was out again, this time for openly criticising the then Roma Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli, after the Coppa Italia Final defeat to Lazio, and refusing to pick up his runners-up medal that day.

Osvaldo had enjoyed an excellent 2012-13 season, scoring 16 goals. The Confederations Cup was a chance to show Prandelli that he can be a top level forward, but he blew it. Had Osvaldo taken that opportunity, then he may have had a better argument to put forward for the World Cup. Instead, his chances seem slim. Prandelli has a multitude of more reliable, more in form forwards to chose from, many of whom will be part of his long-term thinking.

Osvaldo’s inclusion in Italy’s most recent fixture - a friendly defeat to Spain - suggests he will be considered by Prandelli, but whether memories of his outstanding overhead kick against Catania or wonderful solo effort for Southampton in a draw with Manchester City can outweigh his questionable attitude and poor form remains to be seen.

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Have your say...
Kick out Gila & Osva, Bring Immobile, Destro, Cassano, Rossi and Balo. Don't care about experience since I would rather bring Ale, Totti or even Toni if you consider experience as a mandatory...
on the 11th May, 2014 at 5:06am
For me, the question of Osvaldo playing for Italy all comes down to this: If the World Cup Final was Italy vs. Argentina, would Osvaldo really have it in his heart to score four goals against Argentina - and just try to totally destroy them?

I know Balotelli would love to destroy Ghana, as Giuseppe Rossi would love to destroy USA… But I’m not sure how Osvaldo would feel playing against Argentina.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 6:19pm
Osvaldo does not deserve to go to the WC. He has played very little this season and he brings nothing to the team.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:40pm
@ Altobelli
Hahahah well said..
New blog..
Who else would you put in that bag???
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:28pm
"for me if you put osvaldo and gilardino in a bag.."...Hmmm, you might be on to a solution there.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 12:34pm
Prandelli will pick 7 strikers in provisional squad then take 5 of them. The 7 will be Balo, Rossi, Cassano. Insigne, Destro, Immobile, Gilardino. And then if all fit hopefully will take Balo, Rossi, Cassano, Insigne and Immobile. Osvaldo and Gila are very average no where near good enough. I agree with Daniel Quags is a far better player than Osvaldo, I find it incredible he is higher in the pecking order. Quags is a top player, needs to play more. If he had I would have taken him to brazil.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 9:24am
I would leave Osvaldo home there is better younger talent available. CP says he is taking five strikers if I were him which I'm not I would take six.
1. Ballo
2. Immobile
3. Cassano
4. Rossi
5. Insigne
6. Cerci /Destro
on the 9th May, 2014 at 6:24am
I would rather recall Paolo Rossi out of retirement than bring this waste of time to Brazil. Plus he is not got a AAA rating that Prandelli wants from all his players.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 11:44pm
for me if you put osvaldo and gilardino in a bag and pulled one out you would essentially have the same player, there both average an make luca toni look like zidane. We should not take average players to brazil, we did that 4 years ago and got embarrassed. Its a waste to take a big guy as back up for balotelli. If we need a goal its far more likely to come from rossi or imobile than these two donkeys.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 10:09pm
@maldini heir
No, rossi spends most his time injured, I guess in your eyes thats a complimenting role for him alongside balotelli. There you go CP, maldini sorted the predicament; oswaldo, balotelli and rossi all compliment each other; balotelli doesnt score and blames everything and everyone, oswaldo couldnt score in a brothel and rossi, whos been injured a lot has managed to score more than both the other 2! Your right, the 2 half wits compliment each other and the injured 1 scores the goals!
on the 8th May, 2014 at 5:31pm
@ FERBAN swap Cassano for Destro and I'm with you 100%
on the 8th May, 2014 at 2:20pm
@ anonymous no I meant compliment him purely in tactical sense i.e. identifying different players strengths and weaknesses and matching them up. I assume you accept that other players have weaknesses too or should we rely on Rossi for all our headed goals....
on the 8th May, 2014 at 2:17pm
No. He is an idiot.

If you want to take a 'big man' Pranders, take Toni. He is in form and can occupy defenders.

Osvaldo has barely played and barely scored in the last 18 months.

Rossi and Immobile are our two best starters (IMO), with
Balotelli and Cassano as back-up.

Then there is the fringe crop of Destro, Insigne, Toni and Berardi to choose from.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 1:36pm
Osvaldo is an alternative player when its 0-0 after 70 minutes CP would want to stick him on the pitch. that's Osvaldo's only contribution to the squad and CP knows that. However CP has to weight up fans reaction if it turns out to be a bad campaign. If CP brings him or not he will not be the deciding factor so all the talk is most likely irrelevant.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 1:31pm
No. No. No. Three strikes and out (hopefully). Please CP, if you're reading this (obviously, you're not) but anyway, don't take Osvaldo or Gilardino. Osvaldo is thuggish, lacks class or touch and would rather be suited as a Ultra fan than a footballer. These are Italy's best forwards: Balotelli, Cerci, Destro, Cassano, Immobile and Insigne (Rossi). Period.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 11:20am
I'd rather take Graziano Pelle - he's been owning the Eredivisie with Feyenoord.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 10:48am
Shouldn't be anywhere near the squad. Has his moments buts that's not enough. If Prandelli brings him and Gilardino and leaves Immobile, Destro and Cassano behind then he's lost the plot.

Rossi - Cerci- Immobile- Balotelli - Insigne - Destro are my 6, with Cassano as back-up.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 10:38am
@ Mustaafaaaa for once I agree. It hurts to see him in the No 10. Actually this jumping on the bandwagon stuff is quite fun. I might start laying into Balo now. Its much easier than going against the grain......
on the 8th May, 2014 at 9:39am
@ Daniel Giambrone I know. I have no idea how he's made it this far. He's got no obvious strengths. If you look at other players: Balo has physical strength and a great shot and occasional moments, Cassano has technique and a bit of magic, Immobile has bags of goals this season, Rossi has technique, movement and goals, Gila has work rate and experience, Insigne/SES have the ability to cut inside and a bit of pace. What does Osvaldo actually do? Is he a CF or a deep striker?Is he creative?Bizarre
on the 8th May, 2014 at 9:37am
Osvaldo should never ever have been given a cap in the first place. Not in my squad ever, greedy player who rarely delivers and had no discipline.
on the 8th May, 2014 at 8:01am
Prandele your smart so dont bring flipping osvaldo
on the 8th May, 2014 at 7:32am
@maldini heir
No need to assume- balotelli will be there for sure. Your right he needs someone next to him to "complement" him, by complement I guess you mean to score while he walks around blaming his team mates, air quality, grass lengh etc etc etc for not scoring! Imagine the state we are in; prandelli could actually leave the top scorer in serie A to bring oswaldo!! can you imagine osw and balo on the same pitch- 1 that cant score and the other cant score but blames everyone else!
on the 8th May, 2014 at 12:54am
Absolutely not! I remain baffled as to how this man even became a footballer. He is useless, in fact he defines the word useless. If prandelli brings this sack of potato's to brazil then he should be fired!!! Its bad enough we will probably be subjected to giladino I cant stomach watching italy leave quality at home and bringing this bunch of half wits. It would be scandalous if immob, destro and insigne get left at home for gila, oswaldo and balo!
on the 8th May, 2014 at 12:40am
El Shaarawy
My top 10
If CP is only taking 5 then 4 of them need to get hurt for Osvaldo to go
on the 7th May, 2014 at 10:47pm

Useless, disgraceful, irresponsible, and above all he makes me sick when he wears the number 10 shirt. He counts to the other teams not for the Azzurri whenever he plays.

All he thinks about is attempting an overhead kick.
on the 7th May, 2014 at 9:32pm
Why are people saying that Osvaldo is strong, or that he holds up the ball well? I've seen little evidence of this. He surrenders possession all too easily. Perhaps people are confusing him decking his teammates with him being strong on the pitch?
on the 7th May, 2014 at 9:07pm
Not even good enough for Juve. Not good enough for Italy.
on the 7th May, 2014 at 7:48pm
He's not a Milanista so he should be safe from trash talk lol...
on the 7th May, 2014 at 7:03pm
Leave him at home. Leave Gila too, please, and Cassano. Let's turn the page already.
on the 7th May, 2014 at 7:03pm
A frustrating bomber, he has all the tools to be a fantastic striker. He's too inconsistent though, and he has not played enough football this season. He also has a suspect temperament which could result in red cards! He shouldn't make the squad on that rationale, but saying that, he is a player Prandelli likes as an alternative to Balotelli, so it would not surprise me if he is picked.
on the 7th May, 2014 at 7:01pm

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