Football

Respite for Rossi

Back from injury lay-off, Fiorentina striker makes Italy's squad

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli lifted the World Cup hopes of Giuseppe Rossi, Antonio Cassano, Ciro Immobile and Mattia Destro by naming them in his 30-man squad for Brazil on Tuesday.

Prandelli will trim his squad to 23 by June 2.

Rossi has just returned from a four-month injury lay-off but the Fiorentina star must reach full fitness for Brazil at a 10-day training camp beginning next week.

Cassano has not played for Italy since the 2012 European Championships, but has been solid for Parma in Serie A this season and is tipped as a support striker for AC Milan marksman Mario Balotelli.

Torino's Immobile leads the Serie A scoring charts on 22 goals and is believed to have the edge over Roma forward Mattia Destro.

Prandelli, who against all expectations led Italy to the Euro 2012 final where they lost 4-0 to Spain, definitively excluded Alberto Gilardino, Luca Toni and teenage goalkeeper Simone Scuffet.

Among the surprises are Milan's Ignazio Abate, Napoli's Christian Maggio - who returned to action only last week after three months recovering from a collapsed lung - and Verona's Brazilian-born midfielder Romulo.

Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante is included but only as an extra for training camp.

DECIDED

Prandelli said recently that he had already decided on most of the 23 players he would take to Brazil, and that there would be three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders and five strikers.

If he sticks to that formula, the Italy coach will have to cut three defenders, two midfielders and two strikers from his 30-man squad.

"In my head, I already have 18 or 19 players for sure. The others will be evaluated during our preparation phase," Prandelli said a fortnight ago.

Italy will spend 10 days at their Coverciano training camp near Florence from May 19-29, and play the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at Craven Cottage ground on May 31. - AFP.


ITALY'S 30-MAN SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS: Gianluigi Buffon, Mattia Perin, Salvatore Sirigu, Antonio Mirante (included for training camp)

DEFENDERS: Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Matteo Darmian, Mattia De Sciglio, Christian Maggio, Gabriel Paletta, Manuel Pasqual, Andrea Ranocchia

MIDFIELDERS: Alberto Aquilani, Antonio Candreva, Daniele de Rossi, Claudio Marchisio, Riccardo Montolivo, Thiago Motta, Marco Parolo, Andrea Pirlo, Romulo, Marco Verratti

FORWARDS: Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano, Alessandro Cerci, Mattia Destro, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Giuseppe Rossi.