Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said that no one was safe. Not even Mario Balotelli. But there is the Milan striker, along with 29 other players, in the provisional Italy squad released late on Tuesday.
A day before, coach Roy Hodgson named his final England team for the World Cup. Big Phil Scolari listed his 23-man roster for Brazil last week. Prandelli has left himself a little more time to decide on a final squad.
Some players did not have much of a chance. Out of the squad are Stephan El Shaarawy, the 21-year-old winger who spent most of the season recovering from knee injuries, and Dani Osvaldo, who even up until this past Sunday had hopes of making the team. Alberto Gilardino also missed out, despite his club Genoa congratulating him on a call-up prematurely on Twitter.
Several players were never in doubt. Gianluigi Buffon is the undisputed No. 1. Defence is all Juventus: Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli comprise the spine of the Azzurri. Of course there is Andrea Pirlo, who has already stated that he will retire from international football after this World Cup.
Goalkeeper Antonio Mirante was added as the conditional 31st choice. He will take part in training in case of an emergency.
Despite playing just once before for Italy, Serie A's leading scorer, Ciro Immobile, made the initial cut. Ailing striker Giuseppe Rossi is also there after taking the past four months to recover from another knee problem.
Rossi is also one of four players born outside of Italy on the early team.
These players will take part in the friendly against Ireland on May 31. Prandelli will have to trim his squad by June 6, per Football Italia.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the Azzurri.