ROME, May 18 – Juventus left-back Fabio Grosso was the shock victim as Italy coach Marcello Lippi cut two players from his pre-World Cup squad on Tuesday.Lippi trimmed his squad from 30 to 28 players with Grosso’s midfield Juve team-mate Andrea Candreva also sent home.
The omission of Grosso is particularly surprising given that he has been Italy’s first choice left-back for several years and was part of the World Cup winning team four years ago.
However, he seems to have paid for his poor form in a weak Juventus defence this season, although first choice centre-back pairing Giorgio Chiellini and Fabio Cannavaro survived the cull.
It was little surprise that Candreva was cut as he was the least experienced of the midfielders in the squad and is not a regular starter at Juve.
Lippi, who was expected to trim his list to 27 players, will submit his definitive 23-man squad to FIFA by June 1.
Four-time champions Italy will set up a training camp at altitude in Sestriere in the Italian Alps from May 23 to June 5.
They will take on Mexico in a friendly game in Brussels on June 3 and Switzerland in Geneva two days later.
The Azzurri are scheduled to arrive in South Africa on June 9 ahead of their Group F opener with Paraguay in Cape Town on June 14.
They then face New Zealand in Nelspruit on June 20 before rounding off their group campaign against Slovakia in Johannesburg on June 24.
Provisional 28-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari), Salvatore Sirigu (Palermo)
Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Mattia Cassani (Palermo), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan)
Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Andrea Cossu (Cagliari), 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: Marco Borriello (AC Milan), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal/ESP)