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Tuesday November 13 2012
Prandelli to fine-tune Italy

Italy play France on Wednesday evening. David Swan takes a look at the latest squad choices of Cesare Prandelli.

Cesare Prandelli only sprang one real surprise in his Italy squad to face France on Wednesday evening – Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi getting rewarded for his fine efforts in the capital.

Apart from him, the names are familiar – Davide Santon the only other noteworthy inclusion, who makes a return after a year’s absence – suggestive of a Coach who wants to use a good team like France to make small adjustments to what he has rather than try a set of new players.

It is a sensible decision – Italy are in a good moment, and there is little need to destabilise that by introducing a flock of new players, only to ignore them again when qualifying matches come around.

The squad highlights Prandelli’s admirable determination to prevent the national team stagnating and becoming old, but also the differing standards he has to apply to each area of the squad to do this, dependent on the choices he has.

For example, Antonio Cassano continues to be left out because he wants to “try out a few younger players,” but he is only able to do that because the options are there. As he said himself last month, “we are lucky because in this moment we have a lot of strikers.” It is probably for this reason that Fabio Quagliarella, who is only six months younger than Cassano, was also left out despite incredible goalscoring form. It would be difficult to justify exclusion of one if the other ended up at Coverciano the next day.

By the same token, it is youth that is keeping Mattia Destro in the squad. He has not done a great deal since the last international break – one goal in 28 minutes of football to be exact – but because he is young, because there is potential for him to grow with the group, he retains his place over others who have achieved more.

In comparison with the attack, there are not a great deal of full-backs to choose from, hence why he has to keep going to a left-back in Federico Balzaretti who will turn 31 next month, an apparent contradiction to his reasons for omitting Cassano – the Roma man is actually older – but one he has to make for the sake of the team.

It is why the return of Santon could be very important. His ability to play on both sides is useful, but his settling at left-back for Newcastle can help Prandelli make the transition in this area of the team smoother and easier.

In midfield he is blessed. He has players of the right age to such an extent that it is easy to see where the gradual generational change will occur. That he can leave out Daniele De Rossi for a code of ethics breach and still have this section looking strong is testament to the options he has.

He does need to be a little more proactive in finding Andrea Pirlo alternatives. Marco Verratti has been called up to every squad since August, surrounded by talk that he is the next Pirlo – but we will never know until he actually plays. So far he has been afforded few minutes.

Pirlo is suspended for the weekend, so the temptation may be to leave him on against France while the team around him changes, but that does not bring Prandelli any closer to dealing with a situation where he is unavailable. 

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Have your say...
Losing friendlies doesnt matter to much as long as you give a fair account of yourselves, It only matters in qualifiers and tournements in which Italy are always up there.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 1:12pm
Its frustrating to lose friendlys but thats the way it goes sometimes. We have played well in the friendlys we have just been very unlucky. But again we must be more clinical in front of goal. Both performance have been good this week the under 21s and teh full team just not the results. Forza Italia
on the 15th November, 2012 at 12:17pm
The goal scorer we need is Quagliarella. Also felt we missed Osvaldo last night. Will be good when Rossi returns hopefully better than ever. I thought we played well last nigth but again in a friendly where unlucky to lose. Lots of positives to take though. Hope Consigli gets his chance soon he is much better than Sirigu. Also really hoping Roncaglia will be called for next match, it sounds like he is been considered. Also felt we missed Ogbonna at the back last night. The future is bright.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 12:14pm
@Al! you obviously didn't watch the game. Possession, passing, fluidity of the midfield, overlapping of full backs and overall different in class was clear. As it has been the case for a while though, we do not have a goal scorer. france created nothing apart from the 2 goals, and we hit the bar twice! Giaccherini hit the bar when we should have scored, but overall we were terrific! much rather us make defensive mistakes in friendlies vs france! the boys were great tonight! need a goal scorer
on the 14th November, 2012 at 11:04pm
The result tonight explains everything rosario.
on the 14th November, 2012 at 9:59pm
@Al! did you use some sort of online translator? I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about
on the 14th November, 2012 at 9:20pm
We need to play technical football. Let are midfield dictate the pace and flow of the game which never happens cause all these attacking midfielders we have.Passing don't hurt Leave the scoring up to the attack and the provision to the midfield. A lot of goals we scored come off Pirlo's foot. To dependent on this attacking midfield scheme. This kind of midfield play is taking away are flow and dictation of the game. Could cost us tonight hope not. Verratti I like though about time he's playing.
on the 14th November, 2012 at 6:20pm
Nice selection of personnel and formation(433).
on the 14th November, 2012 at 6:17pm
@Sam De Martino! I fully agree. I thought in the 2nd half especially, we were outstanding against spain Under 21s. The passing was fluid and sharp and the midfield was superior to the Spanish. few errors cost us what would have been a fully deserved draw, but I'm sure we will improve in that area. Personally I was mystified to see Devis given the job, but let's see how he gets on. we used to be v.good at picking CT for U21 side. Special mention for Francesco Bardi in goal last night. brilliant
on the 14th November, 2012 at 4:40pm
seeing that Gila was called up for qualifiers due to good form, Quaglia should have been called up. Fully in support of Cassano being excluded. At Inter this season he has shown that he can't last 70 minutes. Age is not on his side and his stamina will not get any better. Destro is rightly included despite not playing many games. He has the potential to be our most complete forward since Vieri! Balza had a v.good euro and deserves his spot. Totally mystified to see Santon. what about Pasqual?
on the 14th November, 2012 at 4:34pm
Why does prandelli over look Paolo Cannavaro? Why not many Lazio players when they are on good form ( i am biased as I follow Lazio ) ;-)okay maybe Toni was a dream lol, Mauri tho must be space for him, good to see Candreva in there, Marchetti is better than De Santis but that howler v Roma was nearly costly!Maybe thas why he has been overlooked, seem to be a few good keepers at the moment Viviano is good. I like Cassani also should be in there.
on the 14th November, 2012 at 1:57pm
No Ledesma or Marchetti in this squad. Poor.
on the 14th November, 2012 at 12:12pm
interesting to see 4-3-3 with some new faces. I look forward to see how it will turn out against France. CP is doing a great job, the greatest thing ever done by Azzurri coach, he is giving the very chances for youth to experiment int-friendly games, surely it will give the fresh new faces called up a type of experience in which Azzurri shall benefit out from in the long run. Bravo CP Forza Azzurri beat them sluggish les blues, yeah :) show me some action!
on the 14th November, 2012 at 11:33am
Diappointing result last night. Although missing Florenzi, Insigne, El sharaway and others played a big part. I think on balance a draw would have been fairer, we made to many mistakes which cost us goals. Still positives to take from the performance as we where playing the best in the world. Spain where fortunate with their goals. Mangia has lots of work to do before next summer but if we continue as we are we can challenge next summer, although a lot will depend on prandelli.
on the 14th November, 2012 at 10:52am
Toni has cored more than Destro to be fair!
on the 14th November, 2012 at 9:09am
I don't understand why he still hasn't called up Ciga, he is who atalanta are based around the anchor of that team and there sitting in 6th in serie a. C'mon Prandelli he is in the best form he has ever been in and in my opinion second best from Pirlo in serie a. I watch all his games he always makes the smart decision with the ball and his great talent is just provin in his performances that's just crazy to me.sirigu,giovinco,Astori,giaccherini,diamanti, have to go,candreva won't ever work out.
on the 13th November, 2012 at 9:55pm
Lol, SES make curva sud proud. Someone else said use the old guard. Really? Balo n SES ARE the future
on the 13th November, 2012 at 6:40pm
Take out Destro, El Shaarawy and Osvaldo. Include Quagliarella & Cassano. Insigne too.
on the 13th November, 2012 at 6:31pm
Consigli should be making his debut in goal. Sirigu is crap. Roncaglia should be getting his first cap as well. Cassano not been included is fair enough if he had been in the squad for the qualifiers. He is very important for us and Prandelli needs to realise this. Quags should be in the squad, he is top notch and is only 29 he has a good few years still at the top, I am all for youth but come on cesare. No issues with the rest of the squad. Lets beat the french. Forza Italia.
on the 13th November, 2012 at 6:22pm
Adam- Im sorry I share ur name. Diamanti has shown an ability to play in various roles with success and his reason for the selection over Mauri. Toni are you kidding me?

Juve- You are right. He needs to give the younger lads playing time. But a call up gives more than playing time. Its time in camp. Its time to gel with the other teams and see the expectations of the national squad. Yes, he should work the younger players into friendlies...but dont discredit the experience of a call up...
on the 13th November, 2012 at 6:19pm
Well said JuveFanatico! What compounds Prandelli's stubbornness, in selecting the veteran's for a friendly; is that the Juve contingent have some huge games coming up in the CL. This just a Juve thing. I am referring to the co-efficients. Does Prandelli really want to burn these players out; bearing in mind that Italy have some tough games coming up, & the confederations cup next summer. Our fitness levels cost us against Spain. Does he want the same thing to happen again?!
on the 13th November, 2012 at 5:12pm
How does Balotelli not play for Manchester City but he starts every game for Italy? Unbelievable.
on the 13th November, 2012 at 5:07pm
Prandelli contradicts himself, when it comes to Cassano, because he keeps selecting Pirlo-when we all know how great he is & what he can do. Why didn't he give Pirlo a breather vs Malta, & why not against France now. Players like Verratti, Cigarini should be tested in friendlies, because we need a back-up plan, should Pirlo get injured. Cassano may have been dropped for a different reason, his attitude, & maybe the "soldiers" remark.
on the 13th November, 2012 at 5:02pm
It's friendlies like this where he needs to experiment with the "players of the future", throw them in at the deep end, a bit like what he did with the England friendly.

My XI with this chosen squad would be

Buffon

Santon
Barzagli
Chiellini
Criscito

Candreva
Verratti
Florenzi

El Shaarawy
Balotelli
Giovinco

... Still can't understand why a 4th Goalkeeper has been called up & why Giaccherini is still in the squad?! Otherwise I like the squad, looking forward to see Verratti & Florenzi play.
on the 13th November, 2012 at 4:05pm
Im all for the young playes getting the chance ect....but also he should reward players who are on form no matter the age of them, Balzaretti for me is sill the best left back, I think Mauri should be in instead of Diamanti, Mauri always did well when selected and was bombed off with no reason, Quagliarella has to selected!! what form he is on!! If we want forwards who are scoring then stick in big Luca Toni he still taps them in!! Destro is poorer than Borini!! get rid of him!
on the 13th November, 2012 at 3:25pm
I don't understand why CP is calling up players like Verratti, Florenzi, Destro, El Shaarawy etc. to these games and decides to go with the old guard anyway? Calling these players to the squad and then leaving them on the bench is almost the same as leaving them at home. I understand that some older players need to play as we don't have many options in certain areas but those youngsters that are called up need to be playing in these friendlies and i hope CP finally starts giving them a chance.
on the 13th November, 2012 at 3:16pm

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