The Italian national team manager Cesare Prandelli has said that Antonio Cassano is not fully fit at the moment and it is one of the main reasons for omitting the Inter Milan striker from the squad that will face two World Cup qualifying matches. The former AC Milan striker recently completed a move to the arch rivals Inter Milan. However, after recovering from a heart problem last season, the striker is only now returning to full fitness according to the Italian national team manager. The Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is also absent from the squad.

Italy will be playing against Bulgaria and Malta in the first two World Cup qualifying matches. Cesare Prandelli has said that it is vital that the nation start the campaign with a win in order to carry confidence over the course of the remaining qualifying matches that will take place over a period of two years. Prandelli has said that the team is still evolving in terms of the formation and has hinted that he is likely to use a different formation in this match. The Napoli player Lorenzo Insigne is one of the few young players given a chance to impress with the national team.

“Cassano has said that he is currently only at 50-60 per cent and, at this moment, I don’t have time to recover players because we need to win games to qualify. He just has to re-find his form, then there will only be tactical decisions to make. I can’t take any risks in these qualifying games with players who are not in perfect physical condition. There is a lot at stake here,” said Prandelli ahead of the match with Bulgaria. Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo and the new AC Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini are the new faces included in the squad.


The Roma manager Zdenek Zeman has criticised the Italian football by saying that the players within Italian football do not know what it takes to win football matches anymore. The Roma manager was extremely negative when it came to the opinions about the Italian football, but has said that he is confident that his club can finally achieve some glory this season. It has been a difficult few years for Roma after they have not been without the Champions League income. They have found it difficult to compete against the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan without this income.

One of the main objectives for the new Roma manager prior to the start of the new season will be to finish in the top three positions in the Italian league. This will ensure qualification to the Champions League. Last season was extremely disappointing for the Italian club after they finished in the seventh position behind Inter Milan. Roma have made some crucial signings in the summer, while some players have also left the club. Ahead of the start of the new season, the Roma manager Zdenek Zeman has said that the Italian players have forgot the art of winning in recent seasons.

“In Italy, you know, they don’t know how to lose. They don’t even know how to win anymore. I’ve been here for more than 40 years. I feel Italian. We have lost credibility (as a nation). Isn’t football a game? We should play it then. In order to be on par with the big clubs, (Roma) must prove something on the pitch. I hope the team can have a positive campaign and compete with everyone. This term we’re starting from scratch and I think everyone has a chance to prove themselves,” said Zdenek Zeman about Italian football and Roma.