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Penpix of Italy's World Cup squad

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May 29, 2006 19:38 IST

Italy's squad for the World Cup finals in Germany comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 24 2006)


1-Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) Born: 28.1.78 Caps: 58 Goals: 0

Made his league debut at 16 for Parma and became Italy's second youngest goalkeeper of all time when he made his full debut in 1997. Became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he moved to Juve for $45.9 million in 2001. Has missed first part of this season due to a hand injury. Volunteered to give a statement to Italian magistrates looking into soccer gambling this month and spoke to investigators as "a person who may be informed of the facts." Has denied any wrongdoing.

12-Angelo Peruzzi (Lazio) Born: 16.2.70; Caps: 31 Goals: 0  

Experienced former Juventus and Inter keeper who has returned to the national team set-up under Marcello Lippi following Francesco Toldo's decision to retire from international football. Expected to be the main cover for Buffon.

14-Marco Amelia (Livorno), Born: 12.4.82 Caps: 1 Goals:0

Third-choice keeper who was given the nod ahead of Juve reserve Christian Abbiati. Made his only appearance for the national side in the 1-1 draw with the Ivory Coast in November. Began his career with Roma but failed to break into the first team and joined Livorno when they were in Serie C. Spent a season with Lecce in Serie A in 2003-04 before returning to Livorno when they entered the top flight in 2004.


5-Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus) Born: 13.9.73 Caps: 91; Goals 1

Established himself with an outstanding World Cup in France and has been a regular ever since. Makes up for his lack of height with great positioning, pace and timing. Took over from Paolo Maldini as Italy captain after the 2002 World Cup and after a shaky spell at Inter has enjoyed plenty of success with Juventus.

13-Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan) Born: 19.3.76 Caps: 73 Goals: 0

The linchpin of the Italian defence, Nesta has everything that is expected of an Italy centre-half. His tackling is immaculate, his reading of the game is astute and he is commanding in the air. Lippi has no credible alternative to Nesta and will be praying that he steers clear of injury. His partnership with Cannavaro has been one of the constants for the Azzurri in the past six years.

19-Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus) Born: 19.2.77 Caps: 52 Goals: 1

When he was Juventus coach Lippi switched Zambrotta from a right midfield role to left-back and not only his club gained from the move -- Italy found a replacement for Maldini.

Zambrotta operates from area to area and can also play on either side of the back line, allowing Lippi other options. One of the first names on the teamsheet.

3-Fabio Grosso (Palermo) Born: 28.1.77 Caps: 15 Goals: 1

Attacking left-back who made his name under Serse Cosmi at Perugia before making a surprise switch in 2003 to Palermo, then in Serie B.  

Impressed during Palermo's promotion campaign and their return to the top flight last season where his powerful runs down the left and crosses for Luca Toni were a key feature of the side. Did not make the Euro 2004 squad but has been a regular squad member under Lippi.

23-Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan) Born: 19.8.73 Caps: 26 Goals: 0

After a spell in England with Everton, broke into the Italy side in 2001 while at Perugia and went on to join Inter Milan where his tough tackling and sometimes wild challenges have made him popular with his own fans and a hate figure for opposing supporters. An old-fashioned "stopper", he will be the main cover for Cannavaro and Nesta in the centre of defence.

6-Andrea Barzagli (Palermo) Born: 8.5.81 Caps: 7 Goals: 0

Italy have an uncharacteristic shortage of quality defenders and Barzagli's solid displays for Palermo have earned him a place in Lippi's plans as a cover for Nesta and Cannavaro in the centre of defence. Strong in the air and with no shortage of pace, his lack of top-level experience will mean however that the bench is the best he can hope for this time.

2-Cristian Zaccardo (Palermo) Born: 21.12.81 Caps: 11 Goals: 1  

Another product of the successful Sicily club, Zaccardo came in for some criticism after his disappointing display in the away draw to Scotland in the qualifying campaign but Lippi has shown faith in him and he got the goal, against Slovenia in Palermo, which secured qualification. A neat and tidy right-back.

22-Massimo Oddo (Lazio) Born: 14.6.76 Caps: 18 Goals: 0

A more attacking alternative to Zaccardo at right-back, Oddo loves to overlap and is more suited to a system with three defenders than a flat back four. Caught the eye in 2002 at Hellas Verona where he linked up well with Mauro Camoranesi down the right flank -- that combination may yet reappear for the Azzurri.


20-Simone Perrotta, (AS Roma) Born: 17.8.77 Caps: 22 Goals: 1

Born in England but moved to Italy as a small child, Perrotta emerged at Calabrian club Reggina before spending a brief spell with Juventus in 1998-99.

After two seasons with Bari his breakthrough came at Chievo Verona and he was called up for his Italy debut by former coach Giovanni Trapattoni against Turkey in November 2002.

Was part of Trapattoni's squad at Euro 2004 but faded out of the national side under Lippi until his good form with Roma this season pushed him back into the frame. A hard-working, all-round midfielder he is the most obvious back-up to Gennaro Gattuso.

8-Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Born: 9.1.78 Caps: 40 Goals: 1

A modern-day Romeo Benetti, the tigerish heart of Italy's 1978 World Cup side, Gattuso is tenacious and aggressive, sometimes overstepping the line.

A favourite with Milan fans due to his enthusiasm and willingness to shake-up opposition playmakers, Gattuso is far more than just a destroyer, possessing a fierce shot and the ability to keep things ticking in midfield with simple but effective passing and he has established himself as an Italy regular under Lippi. Had a spell with Rangers in Glasgow and has a Scottish wife.

21-Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan) Born: 19.5.79 Caps: 22 Goals: 4

Was the main creative force in the Italy Under-21 side which won the European championship in 2000 but was rarely given a chance at Inter Milan and after loan spells with Reggina and the club which launched his career, Brescia, he surprisingly moved to Milan. Coach Carlo Ancelotti moved him into a deeper role in front of the defence and the switch transformed his career.

One of the finest passers in Serie A he possesses superb vision and control and is deadly from free kicks. Kept on the fringes by Giovanni Trapattoni, he has emerged at the heart of Lippi's midfield.  

16-Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus) Born: 4.10.76 Caps: 19 Goals: 1

Argentine-born winger who impressed at Verona, earning a move to Juventus where he has been moulded into a more versatile midfielder. His call-up to the Italy squad by Trapattoni caused controversy given his relatively brief time in the country but he has been a regular under Lippi and while he operates best on the right of a four-man midfield he has adjusted well to playing alongside Gattuso and Pirlo.

4-Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma) Born: 24.7.83 Caps: 15; Goals: 3

One of the new players Lippi turned to after taking over from Trapattoni, the Roma midfielder is capable of operating in a number of roles but is at his best when competing in central areas. Offers greater defensive cover than Pirlo or Camoranesi but is still lively in the final third of the field.

17- Simone Barone (Palermo) Born: 30.4.78 Caps: 12; Goals: 1

After spells with Chievo and Parma, Barone is another player to have impressed after a move to Palermo. An all-round midfielder who covers a lot of ground in closing down players, he is unlikely to feature in a starting 11 but is a very handy option to have on the bench.  


7-Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) Born: 9.11.74 Caps: 72 Goals: 25

One of Italian football's most popular and talented players, Del Piero has struggled with injuries and form in the past few seasons and his place in the starting line-up is by no means guaranteed. Despite losing some of his pace as a result of knee injuries, can still produce the unexpected with a moment of rare skill and is desperate to finally make an impact in a big tournament after several disappointments. Spending a lot of time on the bench at Juventus is not helping him make his case to Lippi however.

10-Francesco Totti (AS Roma) Born: 27.9.76 Caps: 49 Goals: 8

Recognised as a talent since making his debut for Roma as a 16-year-old back in 1993. At his best playing behind two strikers and given the freedom to roam. Totti's passing is at times sublime, whether it be a perfectly-timed slip through a gap to a striker or a sweeping 30-metre pinpoint crossfield ball.

Shamed himself with a spitting incident against Denmark at Euro 2004 but has settled down in the past year, getting married and becoming a father. How he recovers from a serious ankle injury will be crucial to Italy's hopes.

9-Luca Toni (Fiorentina) Born: 26.5.77 Caps: 16 Goals: 7

Fifty goals in two seasons for Palermo earned Toni a call-up by Lippi and then a big-money move to Fiorentina where he has continued to score with ease. Although he looks ungainly, he is surprisingly quick but his main strengths are his power in the air and his bustling in the area that allows him to get into scoring positions. If his form continues he will lead the line for Italy.

11-Alberto Gilardino (AC Milan) Born: 5.7.82 Caps: 13 Goals: 6

Perhaps surprisingly left out of the Italy squad for Euro 2004 after an excellent season with Parma, Gilardino has been a regular under Lippi and his case has been helped by a big-money transfer to AC Milan. Capable of spectacular goals, he is able to either lead the line or to play as a support striker.

15-Vincenzo Iaquinta (Udinese), Born: 21.11.79 Caps: 11 Goals: 0

Strong form for Udinese over the past two seasons has put the tall and pacey forward in the frame. Although lanky, Iaquinta's style is closer to that of Filippo Inzaghi than a traditional target-man -- he is at his best running on to balls over the top and sneaking in at the back post for a close-range finish.

18-Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan) Born: 9.8.73 Caps: 48 Goals: 21

After missing most of last season and the start of this campaign with injuries, Inzaghi needs to hit some real form if he is to be in the frame in Germany. But the prolific striker, who worked with Lippi during his first spell at Juventus, would be a very useful addition to the attacking roster given his ability to come on as a substitute and get vital goals. A penalty area 'sniffer' with a rare ability to get into scoring positions.

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