The World Cup is less than 10 months away, and with only a season separating us from the first match in Moscow, here’s who I think will be on the Azzurri squad come next June.
With Serie A kicking off on Saturday, and today being the last day of the Silly Season, I thought, let’s get ridiculous.
Guessing the 23-man roster a month away from the World Cup can be a challenge, but a year? Well, I’ll give it a go. Adding to the fact that Italy may not even make it to football’s biggest stage because of a ridiculous qualifying group, this may be moot in 10 month’s time.
Goalkeepers (3): Gianluigi Buffon (c), Gianluigi Donnarumma, Mattia Perin
Defenders (7): Andrea Conti, Mattia De Sciglio, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Daniele Rugani, Leonardo Spinazzola
Midfielders (9): Claudio Marchisio, Daniele De Rossi, Marco Verratti, Roberto Gagliardini, Alessandro Florenzi, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Federico Bernardeschi, Giacomo Bonaventura, Antonio Candreva
Attackers (4): Andrea Belotti, Ciro Immobile, Domenico Berardi, Lorenzo Insigne
A mix of youth and battle-hardened players will make Italy a threat this time, no matter what. The major difference is there are a plethora of players who are on the cusp of making the team (who I didn’t list) that could impact games. We aren’t picking from the bottom of the barrel anymore for scraps, there are probably another 10-15 players I took into consideration already.
There will be undoubtedly surprise players, new youngsters who make a barnstorming run for their first ever national team tournament. There will also be veterans who reinvent themselves (Riccardo Montolivo?) and make their case to go to the Russia. And unfortunately, there will be undeniably locked players who get injured.
Gian Piero Ventura has only about 10 more international matches between now and the tournament to get the team right. That’s not a lot of time, especially for those who will try to make their case to make it to the squad.
The Azzurri play Spain and Israel on September 2nd and 5th respectively. The clash with the Furia Roja will in all likelihood decide who wins the group and who will be forced to fight for one of the last spots in the playoffs.