There was always going to be disappointments when Cesare Prandelli announced his provisional 30-man squad for this summer's World Cup. Italy might not be as highly regarded as Spain or Brazil, but the Azzurri aren't short on talent and the coach has called up a wide selection of players over the course of the qualification campaign.
Some of the names left out were surprising, however, and there'll be plenty of debate about the canniness of Prandelli's choices in the build-up to Brazil.
Speaking after the announcement (here in English via football-italia.net), Prandelli's keeper and captain, Gigi Buffon, defended the selections and thanked all those players who've been involved. He said:
In the last four years we built something important that brought many fans back to the Nazionale and increased our sense of belonging.
Italy are never the favourites going into a major tournament, but history teaches us that as underdogs Italy have always been able to find their role as a protagonist. We always want to amaze and this year is no different.
Prandelli has created an ideal mix, so I think the call-ups are right and deserved. The Coach looked at the Serie A performances to find the 30 names. We’ll see if this mix proves to be a winning one, but it’s only normal when there are some who are unhappy after such a large group of talents is cut down to just 30.
I take this opportunity to send thanks to all the lads who aren’t here and proved themselves to be great men during their time with the Azzurri.
We look at five of the most controversial omissions.