Italy has announced the 23 players that will be on the plane to Brazil. The biggest surprise? Giuseppe Rossi is not included.
The Jersey-born forward made the decision to represent Italy, and would’ve gone to the 2010 World Cup had he not been injured. Now, injury keeps him from Brazil as well – Rossi was spectacular for new side Fiorentina in the first half of the season, but missed the second half, and looked a shadow of his former self when taking on Ireland on Saturday.
Roma forward Mattia Destro also didn’t make the cut, despite scoring 13 goals in 20 appearances. It’s a reminder that Cesare Prandelli places a heavy emphasis on team discipline, and Destro’s decision to punch Davide Astori during a league game probably didn’t sit well with the Italy coach.
Noted bad-boy Mario Balotelli did make the squad, however.
Also left behind are defenders Christian Maggio, Andrea Ranocchia* and Manuel Pasqual and Brazilian-born midfielder Romulo. Midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was ruled out with injury after breaking his leg during the Ireland match.
*Ranocchia will travel with the azzurri, pending fitness of Gabriel Paletta and Andrea Barzagli
Italy 2014 World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St. Germain)
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Gabriel Paletta (Parma)
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris St. Germain), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris St. Germain)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)