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Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
Fabio Borini (Roma)
Antonio Cassano (AC Milan)
Mattia Destro (Siena)
Antonio Di Natale (Udinese)
Sebastian Giovinco (Parma)
It's truly surprising to me that Antonio Cassano was able to make this squad. When he had surgery for a minor heart defect in early November, I didn't expect to see him back on the field until next season. However, he returned to training about six weeks ago and has played well since returning to the field for the rossoneri.
Italy's leading scorer during qualification with six goals, his return is a huge boost to a forward line that would otherwise have been completely devoid of experience on the international stage.
Cassano's strike partner for most of qualifying, Giuseppe Rossi, will be missing this tournament after retearing his right ACL several weeks ago. Whether it was his own efforts to return as quickly as possible that contributed to the setback or his club, Villareal, rushing him back to prevent relegation, it will be a huge loss for the Azzurri.
Prandelli's imperative over the friendlies in May and June is to figure out who will partner Cassano during the tournament.
My choice for that would be Sebastian Giovinco. The Atomic Ant was easily the best forward on the field for Italy during their February loss to the United States.
He constantly got underneath the shoulders of defenders trying to mark him and slipped in behind the back line. He didn't get much help from the Turkish refereeing crew—of the nine offside calls against Italy in that game, at least three were fairly obviously incorrect—but his form with Parma has been spectacular.
He is due almost certain to move from Parma this year, and a good tournament could cause his value to skyrocket—a decent piece of motivation.
I'm glad Prandelli finally got wise and called up Antonio Di Natale. The fact that Di Natale has not been called up since the World Cup is inexcusable.
It seems as though there was no other issue than his age that was holding him back—Prandelli has seemed determined not to fall into the trap Marcello Lippi did two years ago, when he relied far too heavily on older players.
Di Natale's form has been too good to ignore for years—80 Serie A goals over the last three seasons and consecutive capocannoniere titles in 2009-10 and '10-'11. He is often considered an underperformer on the international stage, but he brings a huge amount of experience and quality in what is surely his final international tournament.
One huge problem that I have with this selection is the inclusion of Balotelli. There is no doubt that he is probably the most natively gifted striker Italy can call upon, but his baffling lapses in discipline and focus are a danger to this team.
Being reduced to 10 men is a dangerous prospect at any level. In a major international tournament it can be a death sentence. Balotelli indeed brings a massive amount of skill to the team, but he is a red card waiting to happen—something that Manchester City seems to have figured out, as it looks likely that he will be moving on from Eastlands this summer.
There could be a huge reward to Balotelli playing, but there is also a massive risk, one that I don't think is worth taking.
For the friendly against the US, Prandelli only brought four forwards. If he keeps to that, then Borini and Destro are odd men out.
Should Prandelli take five, my pick would be Borini.
He looked very dangerous when given his first senior cap against the US. He took four shots, two of which found the target and were denied by fantastic saves by American superkeeper Tim Howard, without whom the US would have been thrashed in that match.
Destro is a promising prospect, but he's only gotten consistent first-team action for one season. While he has been impressive on his loan spell with Siena (via Genoa), I think he needs another season of seasoning before getting his first cap. His time will come though, and soon.