Which Players from Italy's Euro 2012 Squad May Be Axed for Brazil 2014 World Cup

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Which Players from Italy's Euro 2012 Squad May Be Axed for Brazil 2014 World Cup
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Following their win against Czech Republic on Tuesday night, Italy became the seventh team to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

However, the boys in blue are, despite having been on a clear upward trajectory for the last two years, not considered in the same breath as favourites Brazil and Spain

That heady summer of 2006 seems a long time ago: Despite that season's Calciopoli scandal engulfing Serie A, the Azzurri—inspired by the talismanic Fabio Cannavaro—ended a 24-year wait to claim a fourth World Cup for Italy.

Since then, they have never really looked like the indomitable types that they were.

First there was the failure to surpass the quarter-final stage of Euro 2008 (losing on penalties to eventual champions Spain). Then there was the humiliating exit of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when they finished bottom of their group after failing to beat Slovakia, New Zealand and Paraguay.

In the wake of that debacle, when Marcello Lippi's return was feted as the patriarch coming back to regain the trophy he had won four years previously, Cesare Prandelli was installed as boss. Since then, fortunes have been looking up.

Nobody anticipated an Italy side apparently still in transition to be so resurgent at Euro 2012: With a fired-up Mario Balotelli leading the line, a 4-0 defeat in the final to Spain was perhaps more resounding than it should have been.

It has been two years since Euro 2012, and, in that time, players of that squad have prospered while a selection have wilted.

Let’s now look at the squad that travelled to those European Championships and ascertain who will make the cut and who will get cut.

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