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.