Italy look to experience and unity in World Cup defence

6th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

Italy boss Marcelo Lippi has named his preliminary squad ahead of the World Cup, as the 29 man squad got together midweek for some training sessions. The defending champions, if the best bookmakers for betting on the World Cup are an indicator to go by, will have their work cut out in retaining their title. The European outfit have been drawn in Group F, and face some tricky opposition in two potential dark horses for the World Cup, South American side Paraguay, a technical passing side in Slovakia. The All Whites of New Zealand make up the numbers in the group and are rank outsiders to qualify for the second round. Much has been made over the fact that the Italians are a “Dad’s Army” in that they field slow veterans, but this is somewhat misleading. Casting an eye over their squad, they actually have a great blend of youth and experience, with not too many players over thirty.

But for those Italian stalwarts such as captain Fabio Cannavaro, it is a fair assumption that they will get the starting nod in the World Cup Fixtures. Cannavaro has publicly stated that he will retire from international duty after the World Cup. There is still some debate as to whether there will be a call up for Francesco Totti however, as there was speculation that he would be coming out of international retirement for the tournament. The Roma star has had a hard time with injuries, and retired from the Azzurri after their triumph in Germany 2006. Totti was not included in this squad, because of the Coppa Italia final taking place on Wednesday, in which his club Roma are playing against Inter Milan. Lippi, without Inter Milan and Roma players,  has chosen a preliminary squad which throws up little other surprises, but looks an accomplished squad, which should fare well in their campaign. After naming the provisional squad of thirty players, teams have to reduce their squads to the 23 which will be heading to the tournament. Veteran Alessandro Nesta has refused to come out of retirement, despite advances from Lippi to join the squad.

Italy have one of the great tacticians guiding them, and therefore should not be discounted when looking at World Cup odds. This get together for the Italians has been done to instil confidence and build team spirit ahead of the World Cup. Lippi believes in the entire squad being one, not just the main team being a closely knit group. The Italians are unit which Lippi wants to stick together through thick and thin. While there are doubts over whether Lippi will remain in the top job after South Africa 2010, the Italians will be strong contenders, simply because he is charge. They do like their experience in Italy, and the Italian side will not be short of that. That does not mean that they will be slow and ponderous, even if they do take a cautious approach to most of their international games. It is the typical Italian style to do so, and it is a way which has brought them much World Cup success before. It is what they will rely upon to defend their title.

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