As expected, Cesare Prandelli has announced his final World Cup roster ahead of tomorrow's deadline, after using yesterday's match as a final test to see who he wanted to bring. There's a couple surprises on the roster, and one bit of good news for Napoli fans.
Despite recent rumors that he was on the outside looking in, Lorenzo Insigne made the final roster. We were afraid that he might not make the cut after not making it on to the field in the friendly against Ireland, but apparently Prandelli had seen enough in training to guarantee to diminutive forward a place on his roster. Insigne's quality out wide gives Prandelli something that none of the other four forwards offers tactically (Cerci can swing wide, but he's not as good at it, and Cassano doesn't have the pace for it any more), and his ability to drop deep and help with the buildup is something only Cassano does better.
Unfortunately, not all the news is good: Christian Maggio was left off the final roster. He was always facing an uphill battle to make the roster after missing so much of the final two months after his emergency surgery, and the good performance by Matteo Darmian yesterday probably sealed the deal. It's an unfortunate decision for Maggio, but the reality is that he probably wasn't physically ready yet for the rigors of a World Cup in Brazil's climate.
Also missing out is Giuseppe Rossi, despite a good on-field showing against Ireland. It's believed that he struggled in climate simulation tests during the week, which isn't surprising given how much he wore down in the second half yesterday. Roma fans are up in arms over the exclusion of Mattia Destro, but with Insigne making the cut there was really nowhere left for him, as he wasn't making the roster over either Cerci or Immobile.
We'll be back later on with a breakdown of the roster, but in the meantime here's the full list:
Goalkeeper (3): Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St. Germain)
Defense (7): Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Gabriel Paletta (Parma)
Midfield (8): Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris St. Germain), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris St. Germain)
Forward (5): Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
Cut: Andrea Ranocchia (travelling as standby player; Inter Milan), Riccardo Montolivo (injured; AC Milan), Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Romulo (Hellas Verona), Mattia Destro (AS Roma),