MILAN, Italy (AP) — Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has already decided on his final 23-man World Cup squad and has asked the players to prove him right before he reveals who will be going to Brazil.
There were few surprises when Italy named its preliminary 30-man squad Tuesday but there will surely be more debate when seven players are cut.
"Yes (I've decided), but I want confirmation from them" Prandelli said in an interview published in Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "I haven't thought about the starting XI: this will not be a World Cup of 11 players.
"We need 23 resources, 23 players who think they will be among the first 11, focused only on the squad. Everyone has to understand they might play only one game. But it might be 'the' game."
Prandelli praised Giuseppe Rossi for making the provisional list, despite only just having returned from a four-month injury layoff due to a right knee injury.
"I called him up because four and a half months ago, before his injury, he was the top goalscorer in Serie A and remained so for a few weeks after getting injured,"Prandelli said. "That's a sign that he was doing something extraordinary.
"His inclusion is a message for everyone: if you want something and fight and really try for it, you deserve a chance. Rossi is also a champion in his behavior, that doesn't mean he will definitely be among the 23."
Antonio Cassano was also on the list, despite not having played for Italy since helping the Azzurri to a runner-up finish at the 2012 European Championship, and he could make his World Cup debut after a fantastic season for Parma.
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