2010 FIFA World Cup: Punch Giuseppe Rossi's Ticket To South Africa

Steven SciavilloContributor IMay 28, 2010

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 21:  Head coach Marcello Lippi of Italy talks with Giuseppe Rossi #11 during the FIFA Confederations Cup match beween Italy and Brazil at The Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 21, 2009 in Pretoria, South Africa.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Before departing for South Africa in a few days, Italy Coach Marcello Lippi, will have decisions to make.

He will have to decide which five players to leave behind on the Italian peninsula.

The current 28 must be cut down to 23 by June 1. He must choose the men that will attempt to defend the World Cup Trophy.

Perhaps in his mind these decisions have already been made.

It's entirely possible that Lippi already has his 23.

Either way, I firmly believe that Giuseppe Rossi should be one of the 23 Italians in South Africa come June 1.

There are a few reasons behind my belief.

For one, Italy doesn't have an abudance of creative players with the exclusions of Fabrizio Miccoli, Francesco Totti, and Antonio Cassano from the provisional roster.

With these players left off, Italy is left with Rossi and Antonio DiNatale as the playmaking forwards.

With DiNatale slotted to start, the Azzurri need a player on the bench who can also play the same role.

If DiNatale were to get injured, suspended, or even just be ineffective, then Italy needs Rossi.

If Rossi isn't on the roster and DiNatale is unable to play Italy will be in trouble. There would be no player on the bench who could fill DiNatale's role.

Even if DiNatale stays healthy and performs as well as all Italy fans hope he will, then Rossi still carries value.

Lippi has experimented alot with three forward formations during qualifying and Rossi could play on the opposite wing of DiNatale.

Also, Rossi carries great value as a substitute, as he showed at last summer's Confederations Cup that he can be a spark plug off the bench.

Rossi can quickly change games when entering as a sub, as he did against the United States last summer.

During that game he scored two goals to spark an Italy win. He has great speed which is a good asset against a tiring defense.

To go along with the speed, Giuseppe has a great left footed shot. He has the ability to strike from distance with power and accuracy. This was evidenced in his first goal against the US.

He has also gained valuable big tournament experience while playing in last year's Champions League with Villarreal (three goals in eight games) and this year's Europa League (five goals in eight games.)

Rossi also has experience playing in the three most prominent domestic leagues; England's Premiership, Italy's Serie A, and Spain's La Liga.

Hence, he is accustomed to playing against varying styles of football. Thus, Rossi has experience playing against most of the players on Spain and England, two of the tournament's favorites.

He has scored at least 10 goals in each of his three seasons with Villarreal in La Liga. He also scored nine goals while on loan with Parma in 2007 in just 19 games. Good numbers for a secondary striker.

Sure there are plenty of detractors who will argue that Rossi shouldn't make the cut. They will produce arguments such as he is still a young player at 23, he didn't have a great club season, or that his decision making hasn't been great while wearing the Azzurri uniform.

I don't believe any of these arguments carry enough weight to keep him off the team.

There are too many positive qualities that he brings to the table to keep him off the plane to South Africa. That's why Rossi needs to make the final cut.