Italy 23-man Roster Announced, Giuseppe Rossi Dropped from Team

Giuseppe Rossi
Credit Calcio Streaming

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli announced his 23-man Italian World Cup roster, and while many of the expected names made the team, New Jersey-born forward Giuseppe Rossi was left out of the final roster.

The decision comes after Prandelli got a look at Rossi in action, after the 27-year-old striker played in just over 70 minutes of action in Italy’s 0-0 draw with Ireland last Saturday. Rossi didn’t have much influence on the match and was accused of coming up short on a few tackles.

This, coupled with doubts over his health following an injury on his right knee in January, meant Prandelli went with the combination of Antonio Cassano and Lorenzo Insigne instead, to partner starter Mario Balotelli up top.

This isn’t the first time Rossi has been cut from the Italian roster – in the last World Cup Marcello Lippi cut him in similar fashion. Italy crashed out in the group stages in the 2010 tournament and Lippi later went on to tell Rossi that “that was the only time in my career that I regretted something. He is clever, he has class, he is a genius.”

Prandelli may just regret the decision, too.

Here are the facts: despite Rossi’s injury problems, the U.S.-born forward scored 17 goals in 24 games last season. Cassano, 31, scored 12, and Insigne scored three, for a combined 15 goals, two less than Rossi. Cassano made a push for a World Cup spot, dropping 22 lbs and pleading for re-entry to the team after failing spectacularly four years ago.

“I’ve lost 10 kg to go to Brazil,” Cassano told reporters back in May. “I’m on a diet and I’ve stopped eating focaccine, except for once a week.”

[Note: Focaccine is a kind of Italian bread, quite delicious, and definitely a tough sacrifice to make!]
Insigne is a new face but an unproven one, too. There’s one more forward, Alessio Cerci, who should provide some more goal scoring options for the midfield-heavy side.

Rossi has been hard done in the past and will now have to wait until the 2018 tournament in Russia to make a World Cup debut. He took to Twitter to express his disappointment at the decision, but ultimately backed his country and wished them well in the World Cup.

While Rossi will be watching the tournament at home, Prandelli and his 23-man team will hope not to repeat the mistakes of the 2010 affair. However, the team is in a significantly tougher group this time around, facing Costa Rica first but then following up with England and Uruguay.

If Italy can advance out of the group stages, they will try for a fifth World Cup title, a feat achieved only by the host nation, Brazil.

The decision to drop Rossi could be one that Prandelli will need to face if the Italian team falters again in the group stages, though.

The rest of the line up is straightforward, apart from the absence of Ricardo Montolivo in midfield. The A.C. Milan midfielder picked up an injury in the friendly against Ireland and was ruled out of the roster for the World Cup.

The full Italian National Team for the 2014 World Cup, below:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain), Mattia Perin (Genoa)

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Gabriel Paletta (Parma)

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)

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