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Will Giuseppe Rossi make Italy’s final 23-man roster?

May 29, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT

Serbia v Italy - EURO 2012 Qualifier Getty Images

The next few days will be an anxious time for international players across the globe.

FIFA dictates that the final 23-man rosters for all of the national teams competing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil must be submitted by June 2. For players such as Italian international Giuesppe Rossi, that means one more game to impress the coach before the finally cuts are made.

Fans of American soccer know all about Rossi. The New Jersey native divides opinion after snubbing the country of his birth for the nation of his heritage, Italy. Moving to Italy at the age of 12 to pursue his dream of playing professional soccer, he has played for Parma, Manchester United, Villarreal and Fiorentina. So that is fair enough, I suppose.

Your feelings about Rossi aside, the predatory striker has spent most of the last four months on the sidelines after suffering yet another knee injury. Rossi, 27, has been plagued by injuries since 2011 when he tore his ACL but this season he was on fire for La Viola as he led Serie A in goals scored after racking up 14 by January. Rossi managed to return to fitness from his MCL sprain and played three times for Fiorentina at the end of the season. This Saturday Italy face Ireland in their final friendly before head coach Cesare Prandelli names his final squad for the tournament. Rossi will be hoping to make one last impression as he sits behind the likes of Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano, Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci in the pecking order.

The Italian-American does have one thing on his side: Prandelli is obviously a big fan. Take a look at what he told reporters as he makes his mind up on the 23 he will take to Brazil.

“He [Rossi] is a talent with great quality, one of the best in Italy,” Prandelli said. “He is determined, hungry and made a thousand sacrifices to be here in the running for the World Cup. He is the proof that champions need to have character and he can set the example for everyone. Clearly, he has to be in good shape and that’s what we want to see. His determination, his desire to make all the sacrifices to be here is a demonstration that even the great players have to put in effort. This is a good lesson for the whole group.”

Rossi has never been to a World Cup, as he was cut at the final stage by Marcelo Lippi before the 2010 tournament and his career was in its infancy when the Italians won the World Cup in 2006. He also missed the 2012 European Championships (where Italy lost in the final) through injury.

It could be Rossi’s last chance to play in a showpiece event for Italy. Does anyone begrudge the forward from Teaneck, NJ the chance to play on the biggest stage?

  1. silkysmoke - May 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM


  2. patriotsdefense - May 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Imagine a USMNT with Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotić? I do begrudge both. However, I hope Rossi does make it to the Italian 23, he’s been through a near endless spell of injuries. It would be nice for him to at least make the roster.

    I am happy Serbia will likely not sniff a World Cup spot anytime soon. What shame UEFA is expanding to 24 teams in 2016, otherwise Subby would likely never had done anything significant internationally. Subby was in the US system until an Under-20 coach flipped out on him, pushing the change to Serbia (so said Fox Sports during 2013 Gold Cup broadcast).

  3. pmacd82 - May 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    A part of me’s over it, but there’s still a spiteful part of me that thinks, if he doesn’t make it, serves him right for snubbing the USA. Woulda been a difference maker for us in 2010.

    • dws110 - May 29, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      My thoughts exactly. I kinda hope he doesn’t, but I don’t much care either way.

      • liamj55 - May 29, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        How did he really snub the US? He moved to Italy at 12 years old. Played over there most of the time.

  4. nappy25 - May 29, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    If Subotic was still “American” then he probably would’ve had a different road in his career, same with Rossi. They probably would’ve been deemed “Inferior” because they weren’t European. The Bradly Era handle youth and players a lot differently than the JK Era, which is why we the USSF has changed drastically in handling players. All this talk of what if is just dumb. Get over it already.

  5. thewoolibear - May 30, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    He is actually from Clifton, NJ not Teaneck. He was born in Teaneck but lived in Clifton.

  6. godsholytrousers - May 30, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Rossi = il traditore

    I’ll never forgive his arrogance and lack of class after scoring against a 9 man US team at the Confederations Cup. Karma came down on him H A R D !

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