Originally after the Confederations Cup I wrote an article about the players that I believe should be brought by Italy to the World Cup. This is my second update of the original list.
Here is my squad-
(1) Gigi Buffon-Is still Italy’s best keeper at the age of 31. He has been simply amazing thus far this season, and has again cemented himself as the best GK in the world.
(12) Fedrico Marchetti- One of the most talented young keepers in Italy. He is poised to be the second choice keeper for the Azzurri in South Africa, and may eventually take over for Buffon.
(14) Morgan De Sanctis- Lippi’s choice for the third keeper spot, De Sanctis has been solid for Napoli since his move back to Italy this summer.
(2) Christian Maggio- He is one of the most underrated talents currently playing in Italy. He can play anywhere down the right side of the pitch. He is fast, strong, and he offers a lot of offense to the right back spot, while also being a very capable defender. I would make him the starter at right back.
(3) Giorgio Chiellini- Over the past few seasons has proven to be one of Italy’s best CBs. He still looks a little awkward when is clearing the ball, but he is an excellent player nonetheless. He uses his height and leaping ability to his advantage, both defending his opponent’s set pieces and contributing on his own teams’.
(4) Domenico Criscito- Crisctio is one of the best LBs in Serie A right now. He has a ton of energy and can sprint up and down the flanks the entire game. He can also play centerback. Has the ability to push Fabio Grosso for the starting spot at left back.
(5) Fabio Cannvaro- Makes the team, but not as a starter. His play has been up and down for Juventus this season and he is finally starting to show his age. Even though he probably should not be starting for the National Team, he would be an excellent backup that would be able to come in and play well if a starter went down with injury.
(6) Fabio Grosso- Has not played as well this season as he has in years past, but historically he has played his best during international competition. He might not be a starter, but he is a valuable player to have in case of an injury.
(13) Alessandro Nesta- With Fabio Cannvaro's poor play this season and Nesta’s amazing play, it makes sense to switch the two on the WC roster for Italy. When he is healthy, Nesta is still perhaps the best centerback in the entire world. This World Cup is Nesta’s chance to ride out into the sunset and potentially go out on top.
(15) Gianluca Zambrotta- Is still a good backup at this stage in his career. He is another member of the old guard that should not be an every game starter, but he offers more than enough to be a very good sub. He is also a nice veteran to have around to serve as an example to the younger players on the team.
(23) Andrea Ranocchia- The young centerback has been superb for Bari this past season and he is seen as potentially being the next great Italian defender. Although he will likely not play much, being on the team with Nesta and Cannvaro could prove to be a great learning experience for him and that could pay dividends for Italy in the coming years. If he does play, his size (he stands 190 cms tall) would be an asset in dealing with set pieces.
(7) Angelo Palombo- Takes Gattuso’s spot on this team. He is a very good defensive midfielder, and he is also a good team leader. He has been playing very well this season, and his team (Sampdoria) is surprisingly near the top of the Serie A table due in part to his strong play.
(8) Claudio Marchisio- He is one of Italy’s most talented young players. He was perhaps the best Italian at the last Olympics and he has been magnificent so far this year. He should be strongly considered to start in South Africa next year.
(10) Andrea Pirlo- Not quite the player he was during the 2006 World Cup, but he is still one of the best playmakers in the world. Will help to direct the Italian attack and will take the free kicks and corners in all likelihood. He does a nice job of creating chances for his teammates, and much of Italy’s success rides on his shoulders.
(16) Daniele De Rossi- Is currently one of the best, if not the best, defensive midfielders in the world. He is an assured starter and does a great job of winning balls. He even has a wicked shot (that he is not afraid of using). He is a star and will be a force, albeit not an overly creative one.
(21) Gaetano D'Agostino- He is a similar player to Pirlo in many regards, and he would serve as an excellent backup to him. He has played pretty well for Italy when he has been given the chance to perform.
(9) Alberto Gilardino- Gila has played himself onto this team due to his very strong performances in the qualifiers. He has been putting the ball in the back of the net when it matters the most and he should have the chance to start at the World Cup.
(11) Antonio Di Natale- He has been in great form this year and is making an excellent case for his inclusion into the national team setup. He can play both as a center forward and as a second striker and would be a great veteran player to have on the team.
(17) Giuseppe Rossi- It would not be hard to make the argument that Rossi was the best Italian player at the Confederations Cup. He has a powerful shot, and can also add creativity to the game. He may be of most use as a sub that adds energy to the team in the second half.
(18) Antonio Cassano- Simply put, Cassano should be a starter for the Azzurri. He has great creativity and scoring ability, he is one of the best players in Serie A, and is one of the most talented players in the world.
(19) Fabrizio Miccoli- The Palermo captain is a dynamic winger that does a great job of setting his teammates up in scoring opportunities and he is a good finisher himself. He adds a lot of pace to the team and would be a very high-energy sub.
(20) Raffaele Palladino- Another winger that has played well enough to get strong consideration for a spot on the World Cup roster.
(22) Marco Borriello- The former Genoa hitman has been in excellent form for AC Milan this season, and he is one of the main reasons for their successes this season. He is a controlling center forward that does a great job of holding the ball and putting himself in a position to score.
Alberto Aquilani- Hasn’t gotten the chance to play much for Liverpool. He has the talent to make the team, but he needs to get healthy and play consistently.
Giampaolo Pazzini- Cassano’s partner in crime at Sampdoria, he has been playing well but not quite well enough to assure his place in the squad.
Massimo Ambrosini- Milan’s captain has been very well this season, but he is not a lock to make the roster for the WC. If he does make the team, his leadership and work rate would be of value for the team.
---Maggio----Nesta (VC) ----Chiellini----Cristico---