The Italian call-ups for their upcoming World Cup 2010 Qualifying matches vs. Bulgaria (October 11) and Montenegro (October 15) have been revealed. Italy coach Marcello Lippi just submitted the list of 23 players to FIFA, a list which as usual contains notable absentees and a few surprises.
|Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), Amelia (Palermo), De Sanctis (Galatasaray)|
|Defenders: Bonera (Milan), F.Cannavaro (Real Madrid), Chiellini (Juventus), Dossena (Liverpool), Gamberini (Fiorentina), Santacroce (Napoli), Zambrotta (Milan)|
|Midfielders: Aquilani (Roma), Camoranesi (Juventus), De Rossi (Roma), Gattuso (Milan), Maggio (Napoli), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Nocerino (Palermo), Perrotta (Roma)|
|Forwards: Di Natale (Udinese), Gilardino (Fiorentina), Pepe (Udinese), G.Rossi (Villareal), Toni (Bayern)|
Let’s start with the surprises. There’s about 4 new faces in Lippi’s Azzurri , namely defender Fabiano Santacroce and midfielder Christian Maggio from Napoli, striker Simone Pepe from Udinese, and striker Giuseppe Rossi from Villareal. Yup, Joe Red’s big day with the Azzurri senior team has finally come, which should put all those “play with us Joe” USA pleas to rest once and for all.
Also returning to the senior team are Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo, as well as Antonio Nocerino and Giorgio Chiellini (previously absent due to injury).
Finally, the list of non-calls includes some prestigious names, some due to injury (Legrottaglie, Materazzi, Cassetti, Grosso, Pirlo, Palombo, Iaquinta just to name a few), and some due to technical choice (Barzagli, Ambrosini, Maresca, Quagliarella). In the latter category, the biggest absentees are of course Alessandro Del Piero (not going through a great moment of form recently) and Antonio Cassano (evidently not a big Marcello-favorite).
The Azzurri will play away on Saturday October 11 against Bulgaria (in Sofia), and then host Montenegro on Wednesday October 15 (in Lecce).