Grosso - Hero of 2006
Many will argue that Grosso has had a season to forget in Turin. After initially impressing back in September, where he starred for the Azzurri in a comfortable win against Bulgaria in qualification, the ex-Palermo wing back has failed to re-discover the form of years gone by.
Lippi reasoned that players will not make the trip to South Africa this summer based on past glory. A bold statement from a man who will quite clearly contradict himself in the forthcoming months. If Grosso was not good enough to make it, then what is to be said of his Bianconeri team-mates who will form three-fifths of La Nazionaleâ€™s defence next month?
Gigi Buffon is widely regarded as the finest goal-keeper in modern day football, and rightly so. Giorgio Chiellini proved at Euro 2008 and this season, fitness permitting, that he is without doubt Italiaâ€™s defensive rock. This leaves one man. Fabio â€˜Il Capitanoâ€™ Cannavaro.
There is no doubting that Cannavaro will be spoken of with the highest regard and will go down as one of the greatest defenders to grace a football pitch. However, if this season is anything to go by, some might argue that the two Fabiosâ€™ should both be planning their summer holidays.
However, I am not ready to jump on the â€˜Get Fabio outâ€™ bandwagon. I do not deny that Canna has had what can only be described as a shambolic year. No disrespect, but the likes of Alessandro Matri to Bobby Zamora have made the ageing centre-half look like he should be enjoying a life of retirement on the Sicilian coast. There is one thing that stands in his favour though...his ability to get the best out of himself when he puts the Azzurri blue on.
As was proven in 2006, La Nazionale have one characteristic which makes them stand out from the rest. In the face of adversity, they shine. The debates can rage on long after July 11 that there was no Cassano, no Balotelli. This will not change Lippiâ€™s mind, so the time has come to move past the criticism and accept who will actually be in South Africa this summer. It is what it is...all we can do now is to give our support to our boys, and hope that the World Champions will show they are not ready to hang up their boots just yet.
Italy 28-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari), Salvatore Sirigu (Palermo)
Defenders: Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Mattia Cassani (Palermo), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa)
Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Andrea Cossu (Cagliari), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese)
Forwards: Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Marco Borriello (Milan), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria).