New Team, New Identity For The Azzurri: Balotelli, Cassano In

Chris TucciContributor IAugust 6, 2010

MILAN, ITALY - APRIL 16: Mario Balotelli  of FC Internazionale Milano in action during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and Juventus FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 16, 2010 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)
Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

In preparation for the up coming friendly match between Italy and the Ivory coast, Cesare Prandelli has finally made his first Azzurri squad selection. With nothing short of an overhaul from the squad Italy fielded in South Africa just over a month ago, Prandelli's Italy not only have a new core of players, but also a new identity.

New Azzurri additions Mario Balotelli, Amauri and Cassano will likely all be on the Field at once in Prandelli's favored 4-2-3-1 formation. This means that the identity of the azzurri being a defending team could see a drastic change. The 5 strikers chosen for this friendly are Cassano, Balotelli, Rossi, Quaglierella, Boriello, and the brazilian born Amauri. There are very few teams in the world that can boast such an impressive group of attackers. 

The big surprise in the strikers is Amauri, who most gave no chance of a call up after he was not chosen for SA 2010. Amauri, now 30, has never played for the azzurri. Many thought his dreadful 2009 campaign would be the nail is his coffin, but with an impressive pre season with Juventus and his undeniable talent as a lone striker, Amauri has finally been given his chance. Amauri has been compared to Luca Toni with better pace by many.

Cassano and Balotelli were no brainers for the new tactician, as a snub to either one of these two would have caused an uproar in the streets of Italy. Rossi and Quaglierella are very talented players who were often chosen by Lippi, but never got their chance to shine. Quaglierella was one of the very few players in South Africa who showed what they can do, and therefore he deservedly got his call up. Boriello will rotate with Amauri as the lone striker, as Cassano, Balotelli and one of Rossi and Quaglierella will most likely make up the 3 supporting strikers.

In mid field, sure starter Daniele De Rossi will more then likely form a tandem with one of Palombo or Montolivo. This will be a defensive minded midfeild where players like De Rossi can shine.

In Defense, certainties to start will be Bonucci, Chiellini and probably Motta, with the final wing spot still a question.

Undoubtedly this squad is far and away better then the one that took the trip to south Africa not too long ago. With their first match being a friendly, dont expect hugely impressive things, as they will probably be working out the kinks. But in time, this squad that will change according to who brings their A game, is one that will easily be one of the few favored teams for Euro 2012.

The 23 man squad is as follows...

Goalkeepers: Marchetti (Cagliari), Sirigu (Palermo), Viviano (Bologna)

Defenders: Antonini (Milan), Astori (Cagliari), Bonucci (Juventus), Cassani (Palermo), Chiellini (Juventus), Lucchini (Sampdoria), Molinaro (Stoccarda), Motta (Juventus)

Midfielders: De Rossi (Roma), Lazzari (Cagliari), Marchisio (Juventus), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Palombo (Sampdoria), Pepe (Juventus)

Strikers: Amauri (Juventus), Balotelli (Inter), Borriello (Milan), Cassano (Sampdoria), Quagliarella (Napoli), Rossi (Villarreal).