Prandelli calls Rossi and El Shaarawy
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has left Luca Toni and Francesco Totti out of his 42-man squad for physical testing, raising serious doubts over the veteran strikers’ prospects of making the World Cup squad.
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As reports had suggested, Prandelli has included Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Rossi and Parma’s Antonio Cassano, while AC Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy -- who is nearing a return to fitness after a lengthy absence -- makes the cut.
Mario Balotelli and Torino's Ciro Immobile, who has scored 18 goals this season, have also been summoned.
The selected players will undergo athletic tests and medical exams in Florence early next week, with the idea of simulating hot and humid match conditions in Brazil.
While logistical reasons meant players based outside Italy were not called up, the group otherwise appears to be a long-list ahead of the final 23-man selection for Brazil, and Prandelli has said the data gathered on Monday and Tuesday will play a significant role in his selections this summer.
Serie A players failing to make the cut now appear to have only a remote prospect of being on the plane.
Toni, 36, had hoped for inclusion after scoring 16 goals for Hellas Verona this season.
Speaking prior to the announcement of the 42-man group, the 2006 World Cup-winner had told his club’s official website: “If there are players who have scored far less than me who believe in their chances, then it's only right that I also believe in it. If I do go to Brazil, then I would be the happiest man on the planet because wearing the national team shirt is always a pleasure, but it's no problem if I don't go. I will be supporting Italy anyway.”
Fellow World Cup winner Totti, 37, is also left out, as is 36-year-old Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale. Totti’s Roma teammate Mattia Destro, who has scored 13 goals in 18 matches since December, is excluded after receiving a ban for punching an opponent during the 3-1 win against Cagliari in which he scored three goals.
Prandelli enforces a code of ethics that limits call-ups for those who get into trouble with their clubs.
Another Roma player not included in the squad is goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, who has said he has no interest in travelling to Brazil to provide back-up for Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon.
“I already left the national team a year ago, for personal, football and non-football reasons, and I've left them in good hands,” De Sanctis said in Gazzetta dello Sport. “Buffon has been providing massive guarantees for 20 years now, and I have faith in those behind him too. Prandelli will decide who else he wants to take with him.”
The Italy coach has handed an opportunity to 17-year-old Udinese goalkeeper Simone Scuffet, who recently received the backing of Buffon.
Goalkeepers: Francesco Bardi (Livorno), Antonio Mirante (Parma), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Simone Scuffet (Udinese).
Defenders: Davide Astori (Cagliari), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Lorenzo De Silvestri (Sampdoria), Gabriel Paletta (Parma), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan); Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan).
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Daniele Baselli (Atalanta), Federico Bernardeschi (Crotone), Andrea Bertolacci (Genoa), Giacomo Bonaventura (Atalanta), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Marco Parolo (Parma), Romulo (Hellas Verona), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Andrea Poli (AC Milan).
Forwards: Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria), Alberto Gilardino (Genoa), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina), Simone Zaza (Sassuolo), Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan), Pablo Osvaldo (Juventus).
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.