Who Italy Should Bring to the World Cup (Final Update)

jeff d Contributor IMay 3, 2010

GENOA, ITALY - MAY 02:  Antonio Cassano of UC Sampdoria celebrates scoring his team's opening goal during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and AS Livorno Calcio at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on May 2, 2010 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)
Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

Originally after the Confederations Cup, I wrote an article about the players that I believe should be brought by Italy to the World Cup. This is my final update of the original list before the World Cup.

Here is my squad.

The Keepers

(1) Gigi Buffon
Is still Italy’s best keeper at the age of 31. He has simply been amazing thus far this season, and has again cemented himself as the best GK in the world.

(12) Marco Storari
Storari started the year at Milan and showed a lot of talent and kept Milan in the hunt while the team was in bad form. He got injured, and due to the good form of Dida and Abbiati, he was loaned to Sampdoria and has picked up where he left off in Milan.

(14) Salvatore Sirigu
Surprisingly won the starting keeper job in Palermo. The young keeper has been one of the best in Serie A this past season. He is a strong candidate who will eventually replace Buffon.

The Defenders

(2) Davide Santon
One of the most talented young defenders in the world, Santon should be starting for Italy. He plays left-back for Inter due to the presence of Maicon, but his natural position is right back.

(3) Giorgio Chiellini
Over the past few seasons, Chiellini has proved to be Italy’s best CB. He still looks a little awkward when he's clearing the ball, but he is still an excellent player. He uses his height and leaping ability to his advantage, both defending his opponent’s set pieces and contributing on his own team's.

(4) Domenico Criscito

Crisctio is one of the best LBs in Serie A right now. He has a ton of energy and can sprint up and down the flanks the entire game. He can also play center-back.

(5) Fabio Cannavaro
He is not the player he once was, but he is still a great leader and is a player that you want in your locker room. That said, his play does not warrant a starting place in South Africa. He should rotate in with Nesta to help keep him fresh. 

(13) Alessandro Nesta
With Fabio Cannavaro's poor play this season and Nesta’s amazing play, it makes sense to switch the two on the WC roster for Italy. When he is healthy, Nesta is still perhaps the best center-back in the entire world. This World Cup is Nesta’s chance to ride out into the sunset and potentially go out on top. 

(15) Gianluca Zambrotta
He is still a good backup at this stage in his career. He is a member of the old guard that should not be a starter for every game. However, he offers more than enough to be a very good sub. He is also a nice veteran to have around to serve as an example to the younger players on the team.

(18) Christian Maggio
He is one of the most underrated talents currently playing in Italy. He can play anywhere down the right side of the pitch. He is fast and strong and he offers a lot of offense to the right back spot, but he is also a capable defender. 

(19) Leonardo Bonucci
One of the most pleasant surprises this season was Bonucci’s emergence at Bari this season. He has been one of the best defenders in Italy this season, and he has a very bright future in front of him.

The Midfielders

(6) Angelo Palombo
Sampdoria’s captain has played very well this year and is a very hard worker and a team player. He narrowly beats out Massimo Ambrosini for the right to back up De Rossi at defensive midfielder. 

(7) Andrea Cossu
He has played great at Cagliari this season and made his Italy debut this year. He could be very useful in the World Cup as the backup attacking midfielder.

(8) Claudio Marchisio

He is one of Italy’s most talented young players. He was perhaps the best Italian at the last Olympics and he has been magnificent so far this year. He should be strongly considered to start in South Africa next year.

(16) Daniele De Rossi
He is currently one of the best players on the team, if not one of the best defensive midfielders in world. He is an assured starter and he does a great job in winning balls. Plus, he has a wicked shot that he is not afraid of using. De Rossi a star and he will be a force, albeit not an overly creative one.

(20) Riccardo Montolivo
Fiorentina's captain has been playing very well this season. He is still young and he played well during the Confederations Cup. He would be a valuable asset off the bench.

(21) Andrea Pirlo
Not quite the player he was during the 2006 World Cup, but he is still one of the best playmakers in the world. He will help to direct the Italian attack and will take the free kicks and corners in all likelihood.  He does a nice job of creating chances for his teammates, and much of Italy’s success rides on his shoulders.

(22) Alberto Aquilani
A very talented player, but the only knock against him is that he has struggled with injuries in his career. Recently, he has been playing very well for Liverpool and would be a great option off the bench as he has the potential to start.


The Strikers

(9) Alberto Gilardino
Gila has played himself onto this team due to his very strong performances in the qualifiers. He has been putting the ball in the back of the net when it matters the most and he should have the chance to start at the World Cup.

(10) Antonio Cassano
Simply put, Cassano should be a starter for the Azzurri. He has great creativity and scoring ability and he is one of the best players in Serie A and is one of the most talented players in the world. Lippi needs to swallow his pride and call him up.

(11) Antonio Di Natale
He has been in great form this year and is making an excellent case for his inclusion into the national team setup. He can play both as a center forward and as a second striker and would be a great veteran player to have on the team.

(17) Fabrizio Miccoli
The Palermo captain is a dynamic striker that does a great job of setting his teammates up in scoring opportunities and he is a good finisher himself. He adds a lot of pace to the team and would be a very high-energy sub.

(23) Giampaolo Pazzini
Cassano’s partner in crime at Sampdoria, Pazzini is a great finisher and scores a lot of goals. Lippi would be wise to take advantage of the pair’s great chemistry.

Just Missed

Massimo Ambrosini
Milan’s captain has played very well this season, but he is not a lock to make the roster for the WC.  f he does make the team, his leadership and work rate would be of value for the team.

Salvatore Bocchetti
A young talented defender, Bochetti has been playing very well for Genoa this season and he also played very well at the European U-21 Championship. A player to look out for in the future.

Marco Borriello
Borriello has played well this season at Milan, but not well enough to get in over Gilardino or Pazzini.

Fedrico Marchetti
Although he is very talented, he has been inconsistent and has not played better than Stoari and Sirigu.

Giuseppe Rossi
While he was great at the Confederations Cup and is a very talented young player, he hasn’t had the best year in Spain. I really wanted to include him, but Miccoli and Di Natalie have just outplayed him this season, so they get the nod. He is a likely starter at Euro 2012, however.

The Starters-



------De Rossi---------Pirlo -------Marchisio--------

 ----------------------Cassano ----------------------

---------Gilardino------------Di Natale--------


The Backups


---Maggio-----Bonucci--Cannavaro---- Zambrotta





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