While we've devoted the briefest of attention to the selections of Maicon and Gervinho to the World Cup squads of Brazil and Ivory Coast, respectively, we shift our focus back to the peninsula. Cesare Prandelli's long awaited provisional roster was released moments ago, and while it's full of the usual names, there were some surprise additions and snubs among Italy's elite.
The Provisional Roster
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), Perin (Genoa), Sirigu (Paris Saint Germain), *Mirante (Parma);
Defense: Abate (Milan), Barzagli (Juventus), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), Darmian (Torino), De Sciglio (Milan), Maggio (Napoli), Paletta (Parma), Pasqual (Fiorentina), Ranocchia (Inter);
Midfield: Aquilani (Fiorentina), Candreva (Lazio), De Rossi (Roma), Marchisio (Juventus), Montolivo (Milan), Motta (Paris Saint Germain), Parolo (Parma), Pirlo (Juventus), Romulo (Verona), Verratti (Paris Saint Germain);
Attack: Balotelli (Milan), Cassano (Parma), Cerci (Torino), Destro (Roma), Immobile (Torino), Insigne (Napoli), Rossi (Fiorentina)
*Mirante is a reserve
Daniele De Rossi was a no brainer, but from the Roman perspective, there were two huge surprise; one pleasant, the other not so much.
Despite his suspension and ethical transgressions, Mattia Destro's 13 goals were good enough to earn a spot on Cesare Prandelli's initial roster, where he will have heated competition to join the Azzurri attack. My best guess, the battle for the final spots comes down to Destro, Giuseppe Rossi and Lorenzo Insigne, as one would imagine Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano and Alessio Cerci are sure things.
Of course, the biggest obstacle to Destro's place on this squad might simply be the rust he's accrued from his most recent suspension, but beyond that, Destro's per match and per 90 minute numbers are second to none. He's got the nose for goal and a nearly unparalleled ability to move in space, so the benefits he would bring to Brazil are obvious; we can only hope Prandelli thinks the same.
Now for the bad news, the omission of Alessandro Florenzi.
Young Ale has strung together a pretty remarkable season for such a young player, tallying six goals and seven assists in league play and showing an understanding of the game far beyond his 23-years. He doesn't need the ball to be effective, he's versatile and can run for days; call me crazy, but he provides much more in terms of tactical flexibility, conditioning and sheer talent than Riccardo Montolivo. One can only imagine that Prandelli opted for experience on this one.
Other notable snubs included Stephan El Shaarawy, Alberto Gilardino (someone jumped the twitter gun on that one), Emanuele Giaccherini, Luca Toni and, of course, Francesco Totti, to the extent he was an actual candidate.
We'll have a more detailed analysis of this selection, but what do you all think? Did Prandelli choose wisely?