Italian coach, Cesare Prandelli has named former outcast, Antonio Cassano as one of the five forwards in his 23-man list for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
But former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi missed out, with Prandelli opting to include Lorenzo Insigne in his place, while there is no room for Roma’s Mattia Destro either.
In the defence, Torino full-back Matteo Darmian’s performance last night against Republic of Ireland clearly impressed Prandelli, for it has earned him a place in the final selection. He wins a place at the expense of the likes of Manuel Pasqual, Christian Maggio and Andrea Ranocchia.
Alberto Aquilani is also named despite having been rushed to hospital last night with a head injury suffered during the same match.
A total of 30 hopefuls have been vying for places in Prandelli’s selection over the past couple of weeks, though Montolivo’s misfortune meant that number was reduced to 29 by Sunday.
Following the Sunday work out, a further six players also learned they had fallen at the final hurdle in their efforts to secure a role in Rio – Destro, Ranocchia, Pasqual, Rossi, Maggio and Verona’s Romulo.
Ranocchia will however continue to be a part of the group until the latest possible date and will act as the Azzurri’s first reserve in case of any more injuries.
Italy’s 23-man World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), Perin (Genoa), Sirigu (Paris St. Germain);
Defenders: Abate (Milan), Barzagli (Juventus), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), Darmian (Torino), De Sciglio (Milan), Paletta (Parma);
Midfielders: Aquilani (Fiorentina), Candreva (Lazio), De Rossi (Roma), Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris St. Germain), Parolo (Parma), Pirlo (Juventus), Verratti (Paris St. Germain);
Forwards: Balotelli (Milan), Cassano (Parma), Cerci (Torino), Immobile (Torino), Insigne (Napoli)
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