Calcio Debate: Italy's Confederations Cup Squad - Old, Slow & Predictable

Marcello Lippi has named his 23-man squad for the Confederations Cup, Adam Scime discusses whether he made the correct choices...
Italy have finally settled on a roster for the Confederations Cup and a number of Calcio fans will likely voice their disappointment, as on a player-by-player basis, it surely cannot match favourites Brazil or Spain.

Since Lippi re-took the reins of La Nazionale, his selections have constantly been criticised. The former Juventus and Napoli boss had already revealed 13 players he would take to South Africa and added 10 more on Thursday to round out the quota. Some are deservedly included like starlet Davide Santon, but others are unjustifiably omitted.

The CassaNO Saga

First and foremost, many have argued that Sampdoria talisman Antonio Cassano should be included, but he’s been ignored match after match by the coach. His talent is undeniable, his attitude flimsy. While I may not necessarily agree with his exclusion, I comprehend it. Lippi thrives on having a unit, not a one-man show – and Cassano is contradictory to that philosophy. Lippi won a World Cup with a hard-working and selfless squad, where no one player stole the spotlight.

Based on his performances, Cassano deserves to be plying his trade in the Azzurri colours, an unjust decision, but an understandable one. The only way ‘Fantantonio’ will be included is if Lippi feels he has no chance of winning without him. In this Confederations Cup, a deep run will prove Lippi right and a disappointing display will prove him wrong.

Great Job, Now Stay Home

Nonetheless, Cassano isn’t the only one who can feel hard done by. Two midfielders, Udinese’s Gateano D’Agostino and Roma’s Matteo Brighi, finally fulfilled their potential this season, both having breakout years, but neither have been taken.

D’Agostino’s sparkling performances may have guaranteed him a move to Juventus, but his form is not sufficient for Lippi. What is more puzzling is that the Zebrette playmaker is the ideal replacement for Andrea Pirlo (in case of injury or suspension) in the deep-lying midfield role. He is capable of dictating the play, has great vision, and is an excellent set-piece taker.

Brighi was ever-present for Roma and arguably their best player this season, making 40 appearances for the Giallorossi and even featuring in Italy’s World Cup qualifying group, but Lippi has now snubbed him as well.

Instead, the ‘Paul Newman lookalike’ calls up Blucerchiati hard-man Angelo Palombo and Fiorentina’s Riccardo Montolivo, who although adept in their roles, have been largely inconsistent in 2008-09 and never shown they are even adequate on the international stage.

The confirmation of Simone Pepe and Mauro Camoranesi indicates Italy could continue with a 4-3-3 formation, but if so, why not at least incorporate Lazio winger Pasquale Foggia as well, who is more than capable in a wide-attacking role?

Luca Toni is another who has fallen from his previous lofty standards, his goal-scoring tally dipping considerably for Bayern Munich and the Azzurri, the free-scoring Giampaolo Pazzini should have been called in his place.

Also, what pressing need is there to include Liverpool left-back and bench warmer Andrea Dossena, when you already have seven defenders at your disposal, including two other left backs? One of the aforementioned more dynamic midfielders could be there instead, as they can offer something different.

Young Guns Ineligible

Budding talents like Sebastian Giovinco, Mario Balotelli, Claudio Marchisio, Marco Motta and Domenico Criscito may be worthy of a chance, but were never truly in consideration. Keep in mind that they are part of the Under-21 squad and will be involved in the European tournament in Sweden this summer under Azzurrini coach Pierluigi Casiraghi.

You may disagree by pointing out that Santon was chosen, but the 18-year-old just burst onto the scene in late January and thus never had the chance to be part of Casiraghi’s qualifying plans and that is why he was free for selection to the senior squad.

Marcello Lippi may very well be one of the top five coaches in the world, he transformed Italy before, in time for the World Cup 2006, so there is always the possibility he could do it again. However, shouldn’t he be doing it with players who justify their presence on the pitch?

Did Lippi select the right players? Who should be in the squad that was omitted? Who should be left out? How will Italy perform at the Confederations Cup? wants to know what YOU think?

Adam Scime,