Marcello Lippi pulled few surprises as he named his squad of 29 for a small get-together for the potential Azzurri candidates headed to South Africa.
Whilst the squad can't quite yet be viewed as definitive as Roma and Inter players (as well as overseas players) were excused due to the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday, it was a familiar list who will gather together at Borghesiana di Roma for the training session.
Perhaps the most notable absentee is Amauri, whose potential call up has caused so much controversy over the past couple of seasons. Even Lippi with his bianconeri spectacles on couldn't see fit to name a player who has scored five league goals all season. Perhaps the big Brazilian/Italian will now be regretting the hassle he went through to gain Italian citizenship as his hopes of being on the plane to South Africa have all but been extinguished.
Other absentees were more predictable: Cassano and Balotelli had already had the door shut some time ago, despite their obvious talent, both of them too difficult to handle for the World Cup winning coach. Also omitted despite gathering support in the press was Fabrizio Miccoli; the little magician from Palermo has been in sensational form recently but his own tempestuous character has perhaps excluded him from Lippi's thinking.
Many of the 2006 winners are of course present, despite some indifferent to poor form from many of them (most notably Grosso and Gattuso), but some newer faces did make the cut, including the startlingly average Simone Pepe of Udinese. Among the more exciting "new" players are Bonucci of Bari and Pazzini of Samp. Both are thought to have a good chance of being in the final 23 to make it to South Africa.
Lippi will name a more definitive squad of 30 on 11 May - expect to see De Rossi, Giuseppe Rossi and possibly Francesco Totti or Luca Toni included at the expense of the likes of Cossu and Candreva.
The full twenty nine are listed below, but expect the final twenty three named on 18 May to look more like:
Goalkeepers: Buffon; Marchetti; De Sanctis
Defenders: Chiellini; Cannavaro; Legrottaglie; Bonucci; Grosso; Criscito; Zambrotta; Maggio
Midfielders: De Rossi; Pirlo; Gattuso; Marchisio; Pepe; Camoranesi; Montolivo (Palombo)
Attackers: Gilardino; Iaquinta; Di Natale; Pazzini (Borriello); Rossi (Totti)
A talented group of players, no doubt, but whether they will be good enough to defend the trophy remains to be seen.
Squad called up for training camp 3-5 May:
Goalkeepers: Buffon; Marchetti; De Sanctis; Sirigu
Defenders: Chiellini; Cannavaro; Legrottaglie; Bonucci; Grosso; Criscito; Zambrotta; Maggio; Bocchetti; Cassani
Midfielders: De Rossi; Pirlo; Gattuso; Marchisio; Pepe; Camoranesi; Montolivo; Palombo; Candreva; Cossu
Attackers: Gilardino; Iaquinta; Di Natale; Pazzini; Borriello; Quagliarella