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Monday May 12 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Rossi

Despite recent injury issues, Giuseppe Rossi is odds on to make Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup squad if he stays fit and deservedly so, says George Rinaldi.

It’s been a tough few seasons for Giuseppe Rossi but focus must move away from the Italian’s injuries, for his own sake, and look upon how Pepito has reignited his career at Fiorentina. It was a season that, before his latest knee issue, started so promisingly for the 27-year-old with 14 goals in 18 appearances.

It was form the result of seamlessly fitting into Vincenzo Montella’s set-up in Florence, even as the Coach chopped and changed his line-up when Rossi was fit. La Viola have played 3-5-2, 4-5-1 and 4-3-3, yet the one player who when fit had always held his position was Rossi. In turn, the American-born forward thrived off the creative influence of former Villarreal teammate Borja Valero, alongside Alberto Aquilani and Colombian Juan Cuadrado, who between them had provided Rossi with 10 assists before his January injury.

Such great form caught the eye of Cesare Prandelli, who brought the striker back into the international fold last October, after more than two years out of the picture.

Rossi’s comfort in playing off the striker as well as being the sole forward made him invaluable to the Azzurri and even in the long-term knee injury that has since followed from January, Prandelli has more than once said that he would ‘wait until the very end’ for his return. If the Coach says that, you know he’s done something right. 

Thankfully, the 27-year-old managed 30 minutes against Napoli in the Coppa Italia Final and then followed that the next midweek with a goal in his League comeback against Sassuolo. Whilst yet to start a match and still without 90 minutes in his legs, the signs are positive that Rossi may be back just in time.

Pertinent to remaining in contention despite fitness doubts have been his statistics before the injury. Back in January, he had the best goals-to-games ratio at 0.77, more than any other Italian forward and even in missing five months of action and seeing a number of compatriots make a case for World Cup inclusion, only Mattia Destro has since been able to better that particular statistic.

The only doubts over Rossi’s inclusion this summer are based on his injury and his fitness - is the risk there that he could get injured in the opening group game or that he won’t return to peak fitness in time for what will be a physically demanding competition? Prandelli has stated the need for athletes first, players second this summer. Candidates such as Alberto Gilardino may have been less prolific in comparison this term, but they can boast few fitness concerns.

If he stays fit, it’s pretty straight forward to say that Rossi will be attending the World Cup. Azzurri fans will be licking their lips at the potential of the Fiorentina man partnered with Mario Balotelli or even Immobile if given the call. This is Rossi’s time to shine, to show the world what we’ve been missing and, should his body allow him, he will likely not disappoint.

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Have your say...
@ mm
Yes it was a bad final the whole team were bad not just balo only derossi had a decent game but only 2 days rest from the semi, and no luck at all,we'll get 4 or 5 in Brazil different story, agree with verrati he should have been played more under cp but immobile has just come to the fore, we have 2 friendlies coming up hopefully he will use verrati and immobile give them their chance, we'll have to wait and see.
on the 18th May, 2014 at 7:17am
@FB40
I hope to be proven wrong. But I was correct in the euros when we were disgraced in the final- balo vanished, like he does in all big games. But guess thats just me that sees that rite??
But il admit that italy in the confed cup did surprise me with the never say die attitude and that is one thing I must praise prandelli for. I dont think hes used the time hes had constructively to integrate players like verratti and immob. I think wev wasted valuable time balotelli neglecting others!
on the 18th May, 2014 at 12:59am
@ lucio
Totally agree with what you said... FORZA AZZURRI....
on the 17th May, 2014 at 5:14pm
@mm
Cp couldn't play the youngsters in the confed cup they were in the euro u21, and most of them have only come to the fore this season, the azzurri were ok in confed they only had 3 days rest between games and we're tired but still managed to show good character especially against japan, the only times we were fresh we played well against Mexico and Spain, cp has done a good job we have a good side and will do well in Brazil anyone can see that apart from you who ain't got a clue.
on the 17th May, 2014 at 5:12pm
FB40 its called being real and living in the real world! If you want to put icing over a bad cake thats your business. You go watch azzurri all over the world with your eyes closed, il watch them with my eyes wide open! your 1 of those fans that watched the confed cup and enjoyed the modern italy of conceding goals left rite and centre- made to look average by japan for most of that game. Confed was A chance for CP to use new players, instead- the younsters were again not there or benched!
on the 17th May, 2014 at 10:51am
i can' t believe the negativity some people have in CP. He has got italy playing the best football we have since vicini was in charge in 1990. CP has re-introduced youth and much needed flair to the azzurri. He bought cassano,balo & rossi in to the team and we got to the euro final. Lippi for all his greatness,chose to ignore such talents and believed in quaglirella,pepe,iaquinta and gilar & we couldn even beat new zealand. CP is tactically flexible and always picks footballers ahead of donkeys.
on the 16th May, 2014 at 10:45pm
@mm
Not just based on his goals based on all his performance for Italy, like I said 95% of the time he plays well and he's got a good goal record for azzurri, so he should be picked until he has a bad game, try getting behind and supporting the azzurri for a change instead of being negative all the time, it's fans like you we don't need, glass is always half empty in your case all you do is moan and it's boaring.
on the 16th May, 2014 at 5:10pm
FB40
So balotelli starts based on his goal against germany. Coz I havnt seen anything great from him since. I mean he hardly set the euros on fire apart from the goal against germany.
If we are picking a team based on the odd game or 2 where they actually merited a call up then quagliarella should be in this team- hes ticking the boxes you say balo has- crap or not picked for club team but has a good game with italy! Wake up. With fans like you italy will be stuck with balo ans prandelli 4ever
on the 16th May, 2014 at 2:52pm
@ Jenkins @mm
I'm no Milan fan I'm an azzurri fan I watch them all over the world, I'd start with balo up front he's proven at the highest level, if he performs badly against England then I'd put immobile in, I don't care how he plays for Milan as long as he keeps playing well for the azzurri and 95% of the time he does. It's one thing banging in the goals against Catania chievo Livorno and co it's another to do it in quatre or semi of a World Cup you need expiriance to handle the pressure.
on the 16th May, 2014 at 9:02am
@jenkins
You might be my long lost brother! You took the words right out my mouth on prandelli, monto, motta and balo!
@FB40
Your right it is a dream. But with prandelli the world cup is also a very very distant dream!
Let me ask you- what striker would you start with? Balo? Or immobile?
Based on this season- not 2 years ago against germany- just this season. Look at balo shot to goal ratio and look at immob, destro, cassano and beradi- every single 1 is better than balo.
on the 15th May, 2014 at 10:42pm
FB40, surely you must be a fan of Milan. If Balotelli will play the way he plays for Milan, then he can stay in Milan this summer. We will probably have Insigne, Cassano, Cerci and Immobile/Rossi. So we don't need this overrated hot-head who walks around the pitch whilst others do the running.

Don't be manipulated by the Italian press who make him seem better than he actually is.
on the 15th May, 2014 at 10:09pm
4-3-3

Buffon

DeSciglio-Barzagli-Bonucci-Chiellini

DeRossi-Pirlo-Verratti

Cerci-Balotelli-Insigne (or Rossi if 100% fit)
on the 15th May, 2014 at 6:44pm
@ Jenkins
Leave balotelli at home and bring borini or quagliarella ??? Your living in a dream world friend...
on the 15th May, 2014 at 6:17pm
We should have HAD Ancelotti, ASAP.

Knowing the likes of Prandelli, I think that Mirante, Darmian, Destro, Ranocchia, & either Aquilani or Verratti will GO home. I hope Verratti is in, however.

It matters not. We could have Messi or Ronaldo pairing up with Pepito Rossi, yet this idiot manager at all costs, wants Montolivo & Motta as support! And THAT will ruin our chances in scoring!

AND leave Balotelli home, he's overrated & had a poor season. Bring in Borini or Quagliarella in his place.
on the 15th May, 2014 at 5:26pm
@jenkins
I agree. Iv never been confident in CP. It isnt juat players he has no idea about its his lottery of formations! I mean his post match interviews are all the same- win, lose or draw, all I hear is "we expwrimented" here there and everywhere. Hes been on the bench for for years and still has no idea if he needs to play 3 4 5 6 in defence with 1 striker or even more ridiculous balotelli and a 'hard working striker' next to him! My god. We need ancelotti ASAP
on the 14th May, 2014 at 11:10pm
I Think this is a great selection, delighted osvaldo, gilardino were not selected. The selection lippi made 4 years ago was far worse, and we have far more attacking options now than we did then. Personally the i would leave behind,
ranocchia,pasqual,darmian,aquilani,parolo,montolivo & destro
on the 14th May, 2014 at 9:02pm
Well done prandelli, good squad few surprises but good ones, good mix of youth and expiriance, hope he takes verrati we'll need him if anything happens to pirlo.
on the 14th May, 2014 at 8:13pm
Allora. I really was expecting worse than what Cesare has given us so far. He is a FOOL to have left out Florenzi. We need runners with energy and a will to attack from the midfield, with the ability to score too. And God forbid Pirlo twists an ankle, then Cigarini could jump in to deputize.

Balotelli is a Maleducato. Why not call up Borini or Quagliarella in his stead?

Prandelli is calling up unknown players because he STILL has no clear ideas of who should play, even in May!
Disgraziato!
on the 14th May, 2014 at 6:04pm
@TO
'He NEEDS a hard working striker next to him'... hahahahha iv heard it all now! Yes and while that hard working striker is working his nuts off balo can swan about and do what he does best- moan and do nothing!
on the 14th May, 2014 at 5:28pm
@TO
Milan are a mess. But torino are hardly barcalona are they- yet immobile has torn serie A apart! Why should immobile be sidelined or even left at home to be 2nd to balotelli?? Based on form, consistancy, shots to goal ratio. Make all the excuses for balo you like- he was sent packing from every club. Take aguero away from city and they struggle, when ibra was absent for inter (afew years back) inter struggled. When balo was absent for inter, city and AC they all seemed fine without him!?
on the 14th May, 2014 at 5:21pm
That was meant to say SIX strikers!!!
on the 14th May, 2014 at 3:20pm
Do you think CP will bring strikers to the WC?
on the 14th May, 2014 at 3:19pm
"Now hope balotelli gets left at home and we have a TEAM.."

maybe one day people will realize the clear difference between Balo on a talentless ACM team (I'm a ACM fan) and Balo on the national. Make no mistake, Balo CANNOT lead a team and contrary to popular belief he is not a lone striker. he NEEDS a hardworking striker beside him, but when there is he's as deadly as anyone. He has one of the best shots in world and wins countless free kicks around the box, which is critical for touni play
on the 14th May, 2014 at 2:36pm
Rossi is a no brainer even at less than 100%. He is the nation's best natural goal scorer - period. Plus, he will get stronger as the tourni progresses and Cassano - who himself will only get useful for 50-60 min in that heat - will get weaker. A strike force of Bal, Rossi and cerci (with imobile as a super sub for either Balo or Rossi) ranks in the top 5 strike forces at the WC. However, I have a nasty suspicion the last spot is between Rossi & insigne. If true, pray it's the former
on the 14th May, 2014 at 2:25pm
He finally left some jokes at home but we still have a lot. I would have choosen Berardi over destro and take Cerci as a midfielder. Also Cigarini over Romulo, Aquilani, Montolivo, Parolo, and Verratti but especially Aquilani. No Criscito which I think was wrong. There was a whole bunch of talent that wasn't called up that deserved to be.
on the 14th May, 2014 at 12:52pm
Yes, Rossi. Midfield key area for Italy at WC.. At present, too many similar players in the midf... De Rossi & Pirlo, Marchisio & Montolivio (ditto verratti& motta). Whose goin to bring the ball forward from the centre with pace … key to linking play? Long ball upfront gets predictable after a while. I have not seen much of Romulo but a possible answer!? He drives forward with pace & purpose. Defending against attacks through the middle is v. difficult & is needed as well as wing attacks.
on the 14th May, 2014 at 12:12pm
I would like to see the return of B internationals & maybe even the introduction of B tournaments. We have a huge pool of players right now & I expect it to get even bigger. I'd like to see these players getting a taste of international competition.
on the 14th May, 2014 at 10:28am
@TonyITA, Berardi has been more impressive than any English youngster this season, & that is saying something, as Sterling & Barkley have been superb. In CO's defence, he has many more attacking options than RH. Have a great time on the 31st! I envy you!
@Mustafa, I also feel a bit sorry for Giaccherini. I'm guessing that he hasn't been chosen because he's played little football this season. TBC
on the 14th May, 2014 at 10:21am
Brilliant news that gila has been left out. Now hope balotelli gets left at home and we have a TEAM; where 11 men work for each other as a unit and not 10 men running about whilst balotelli sits upfront moaning that the ball isnt round enough, the grass is to long, the stadiums to hot, the air quality is bad his team mates dont pass enough!!! Immobile, destro, cassano, cerci, insigne and rossi.
We also need to leave barzagli, monotlivo and aquilani. Cigarini should have been included
on the 14th May, 2014 at 12:34am
Great we wont be subjected to gilardino again! Great news! Aquilani is useless for italy, barzagli is slow and makes so many mistakes, we have afew players who suffer injury problems which is worrying.
on the 14th May, 2014 at 12:17am

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