I was at Craven Cottage yesterday for the Italy vs. Nigeria game. Cracking game for an Italy friendly and I wanted to get peoples opinions on formations and who they would have in their starting XI! This a strong crop of players with plenty of depth and I was really impressed with the impact of Diamanti and Cerci yesterday. Guissepe Rossi looks to have already nailed down a spot for the World cup squad! Candreva is another player who was solid yesterday and with so much talent to choose from, baring in mind plenty of young guns still in in with a shout (Veratti, El Shaarawy, De Sciglio, Florenzi, Insigne, Davide Santon is doing well in England) I wanted to know who people would to prefer to see in the WC squad atm and their preferred XI.
My XI at the moment would be 3 - 5 -2 (as i feel that worked well in the Euro's) Buffon, chiellini, bonucci, barzagli, abate/giaccherini ,de sciglio/balzaretti pirlo, marchisio, de rossi, Rossi & Balotelli.
Agree/disagree let me know what you all think - I feel it is a very exciting time for Gli Azzurri!!
It was great to see Guissepe Rossi back for Italy. He looks like he's really getting back to this best and hopefully he can continue to improve and have a good season for Fiorentina, staying healthy and scoring regularly.
I think Italy has a great batch of young players coming through. Its funny, only a few years ago it was all doom and gloom around the Azzurri with everyone proclaiming how they will struggle after the debacle of the 2010 World Cup and there is no young talent coming through. How that has changed. Like you said, Veratti, El Shaarawy, De Sciglio, Florenzi, Insigne and Santon are all very good young players who should make the WC squad.
I think competition for places will be fierce, particularly in the defence. If its back four, I think Chiellini and Bonucci are probably the best two centre-halfs. Barzagli to me looks to have lost a few yards of pace and isn't as imposing, he could be a weak spot. Ogbonna should be in the mix there.
The competition at full/wing-back will be fascinating, though: you have old stagers like Maggio / Abate/ Balzaretti / Pasqual / Giaccherini (if in a 3-5-2); then you have the 'new breed' like De sciglio / Antonelli / Santon / Ambrosio / De Silvestri. Even Chiellini and Criscito (and Ogbonna) can play full-back. Selecting 4 or 5 from that lot will be tough.
The one area of potential weakness is at striker. Don't get me wrong, Balotelli is an excellent striker, but if he's not available (for lots of reasons, we all know he's nuts) then they could be in trouble. There is no other good prima-punta to replace him at the moment, in my view. Osvaldo isn't good enough and Gilardino, while I like him, i don't think he'll be up to it. They could play a combination of Rossi and Insigne / El Shaarawy / Cerci with support from an attacking midfielder but it would leave them without a true prima-punta. Maybe the stage is set for someone else to step up and be that 'vice-Balotelli' – Gabbiadini maybe? Or Destro if he can get fit?
Yeah so many options its hard to pick a squad little own a starting line up! I hope the young players get a chance, I really think if De Sciglio and SES can get a string of games for Milan they can still be crucial players! Veratti is a great regista and could play alongside or offer great back up for Pirlo!
I agree with Bonucci and Chiellini if we went with a back four. Ogbonna should definitely go can offer cover everywhere in the back four....Prandelli also usually sees De Rossi as cover for centre back as well so that will be interesting to see how many he takes in defence. The competition at full-back really is incredible so many options!
I see your point about the Prima Punta....without Balo there are no real world class out and out prima-punta's! Dare we mention the possible inclusion of Totti if he can be persuaded out of retirement & stays injury free while maintaining his early season form. He could play both as a prima-punta/trequartista as he does for Roma! Destro is another one who is somewhat of a forgotten man, will be interested to see how he does when he returns for Roma!! I was impressed with Gabbiadini at the under 21's but not sure if he could make the step up!
You never know Domenico Berrardi might keep blowing us all away and become the Theo Walcott of 2006 (although at the moment with Berrardi's performances he would merit it more)! I don't think thats Prandelli's style though!
I'm against a return of Totti to the nazionale. Of course, it would bring a smile to my face to see Er Pupone perform his magic and dazzle defenders on route to guiding Italia to WC glory, but from a Roma point of view, at 37-years of age, it would be best if he doesn't go. We seen with his latest injury – a hamstring, which has kept him out for a month now – he can still pick up the injuries fairly easily (a bit of a sprint and leg lift), so the more time to rest and recuperate them old bones the better. Besides, I don't think its really a runner that Prandelli would pick him.
It'll be interesting to see with El Shaarawy. He's having a terrible season. Of course, the injuries have been bad for him, but he also doesn't look like the player he was last season. Can he get back to his best in time for the WC to be a starter?
I forgot about Berardi, he's another interesting young forward. You never know, if he keeps playing well.
By the way, Luca, are you a Milan fan? (Or just Nesta?)
As a Roma fan I don't blame you at all....we've seen how important keeping him fit is for your aspirations!
Yeah I am a big fan of El Shaarawy but he is certainly not the same player he was in the first half of last season. Hopefully he can regain that form but the arrival of Balo really seems to have crippled him!!!
I am a Milan fan and a big Chelsea fan in England. Nesta is one of my all time favourites. Growing up (playing centre back) he was my idol and the first Italian shirt I got was a Lazio Nesta shirt. However with my dad being a huge Milanista and with Nesta's transfer to the Rossoneri they became my Italian team!