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World Champions Italy announce squad of 23 for South Africa

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cannavaro_gattuso.jpgFour time World Cup winners Italy would be looking to defend their crown in South Africa this summer. The Italians have their World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi back at the helm following the sack of Roberto Donadoni after a disappointing Euro 2008 display. An unimpressive start in their qualifying campaign was followed by some consistent and dogged performances by the Azzurri and everyone seems to be on a high in the Italian camp.

Giuseppe Rossi who represented the Azzurri in last year's Confederations Cup failed to book a ticket to South Africa. The Villarreal striker would be very disappointed having done well enough to merit a place in the squad. Marco Borriello was also given the boot by Marcello Lippi though his exclusion came as no surprise with his lack of game time on the international stage. Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, defender Mattia Cassani and midfielder Andrea Cossu were the 3 other players who failed to impress Lippi enough to tag along with him to his second successive World Cup. The former Juventus boss had initially trimmed his 30 to 28 almost 2 weeks back by removing Fabio Grosso and Antonio Cadreva from his provisional squad.

The Italians are placed in an easy group and would be favorites to top it, the other sides being Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia. They open their campaign against Paraguay followed by New Zealand and Slovakia. Italians are not hot favorites for the tournament but once again they would be looking to defy their critics by retaining the World Cup and becoming only the second side to do so after Brazil in 1962.


Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari)

Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan)

Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus),Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)

Forwards: Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli)

Read more about team Italy and their opponents

Also Read: Paraguay, Slovakia, New Zealand Team Previews

Group Preview: Group F Preview

File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel

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