Earlier this month we echoed the announcement of Lippi’s 30-man preliminary squad for the summer’s World Cup. Back on Italy-watch, Lippi announced that he had cut a further two players from his preliminary squad. The victims of this latest cull were 32 year old left back Fabio Grosso and 23 year old right winger Antonio Candreva.
Grosso had not had the best of seasons but this could be said of the rest of the Juventus team, the biggest contributor to Lippi’s side at the moment, so his exclusion comes as little surprise. Lippi informed Grosso yesterday and described the decision as “unimaginably difficult” and said that the squad would not be picked on reputation stating that it was just as “difficult to leave behind 14 other players who were part of an important journey in Germany four years ago”.
Candreva’s exclusion is the real shame here though, he would have been a great squad member. It now seems that Camoranesi has far less competition for his place. There is also speculation that Giuseppe Rossi will be cut from the 28 man squad before June 1. Rossi is a striker who gives the national team something different to the Iaquinta/Gilardino/Quagliarella style goal poacher. He isn’t afraid to run at defenders and can come from deep if necessary.
He had been out for a few months after the sad death of his father earlier this year, and he is still very young (only 23). Lippi has outlined his desire to take fit and experienced heads to the tournament. It looks like Rossi will have to wait four more years for his World Cup berth.