Channel NewsAsia

Football: Rossi absent from Italy World Cup squad

Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi was the major absentee when Italy coach Cesare Prandelli named his 23-man World Cup squad.

ROME: Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi was the major absentee when Italy coach Cesare Prandelli named his 23-man World Cup squad on Sunday.

Rossi's exclusion was perhaps not a huge surprise as he missed four months of the season due to injury and didn't have enough time to rediscover his form and fitness to convince Prandelli of his worth.

Versatile Napoli attacking player Lorenzo Insigne instead joins forwards Mario Balotelli and Ciro Immobile, Serie A's top scorer this season with 22 goals, on the plane to Brazil.

Parma veteran Antonio Cassano, who will play in his first World Cup, and Torino's Alessio Cerci are also attacking options.

Another missing from the list was AC Milan midfielder Riccardo Monolivo, whose World Cup ambitions ended when he suffered a broken leg in Saturday's warm-up against Ireland.

He has been replaced by former Liverpool misfit Alberto Aquilani, now with Fiorentina.

There were no real surprises in midfield with veteran pair Daniele De Rossi (Roma) and Andrea Pirlo (Juventus) joined by Paris Saint-Germain duo Marco Verratti and Brazilian-born Thiago Motta included.

The defence is mostly made up of the Juventus backline with Andrea Bazagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini all expected to start in front of their club captain Gianluigi Buffon in goal.

If there was one unexpected inclusion in defence it was that of Torino right-back Matteo Darmian who only made his debut against Ireland and is preferred to Prandelli's long-term first choice right-sided player Cristian Maggio of Napoli, who underwent an injury-plagued season.

Beside the 23 squad players, Prandelli also named Inter Milan centre-back Andrea Ranocchia as a stand-by player, who can be brought in for someone right up to the day before Italy's first match against England in Manaus on June 15.

Italy's other Group D rivals are Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Italy squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-GermainG/FRA), Mattia Perin (Genoa)

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Gabriel Paletta (Parma)

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia