Prandelli explains reasons for Italy squad selection
Italy manager Cesare Prandelli gave a press conference this afternoon, where he explained the reasons for selecting his 32 man preliminary squad.
Prandelli has left out regular strikers Giampaolo Pazzini and Alessandro Matri, despite the duo having played in the Azzuri’s most recent friendly – a 1-0 loss at home to USA in February. “For me, six attackers are more than enough,” Prandelli told reporters. “We made our own assessments of players who can give 100 percent to the team. The players excluded were evaluated only on a technical level. I have made choices on form, I challenge anyone to tell me that I should not call Di Natale and Giovinco.”
The 54 year old explained the reasons for selecting his preferred attacking six, stating “Teams play a different style of attacking football today. Once the attackers had to stay in the centre, but today it is different. Balotelli can play that role but also on the outside, as well as Di Natale and Giovinco who have scored a lot during the season”
Italian media has suggested that Prandelli might try a variety of tactics, including the 3-5-2 formation that saw Juventus finish the season undefeated in Serie A. “I do not have much time to try several solutions, but we will base our tactics on those from the qualifiers,” Prandelli said. “A three man defence? We can try it, as it gives us more players in midfield. We’re a good team and we want to win, we want the national team to play a fluid attacking game.”
Prandelli then discussed the inclusion of certain individual players: “Cassano has recovered to 100 percent. Balotelli has played little in the last games of the season, but has won the Premier League. He is a talented player who we hope will shine during the Euros. Chiellini’s injury? I know Giorgio and I know he will do anything to be there”.
Juventus midfielder Simone Pepe has been omitted from the squad due to suspension, with the uncapped Emanuele Giaccherini taking his place. “Pepe is a major player if you’re going to put balls into the box. But Giaccherini can play in a number of roles and I hope will be an important player.”
The big surprise for many was the inclusion of uncapped 19-year-old Pescara midfielder Marco Veratti. “There are many reasons I have made the decision,” Prandelli admitted. “The first is that he is there on merit, that I want people to know that Serie B players can be called up to the national team. I want to make it clear that he is here as part of our long-term vision. Pirlo will be our key midfielder, but we must learn to find other ways to play.”
As for his other surprise inclusions, “Mattia Destro is not the classical central striker, but a modern striker. Diamanti in Bologna has been shown to have great tactical flexibility and personality. He can fill the playmaker role as well as the defensive midfield one. It is a reward for his fantastic season.”
Full Italian 32 man squad: