Italian coach Roberto Donadoni has brought in a host of new players from the team that beat Georgia 2-0 in the weekend’s Euro 2008 tie.
24-Year old Daniele De Rossi will captain the side for the first time from the kick off. He was once handed the armband during the match as his captain left the field.
According to Siena daily newspaper La Stampa, there are four debutants to look out for.
Paolo Cannavaro (26), the younger brother of Fabio, is also a defender and plays for Napoli. Also coming in are Andrea Dossena, a 26-year-old defender from Udinese, central midfielder Antonio Nocerino (22) from Juventus and 23-year-old forward Alessandro Rosina from Torino. All, excpet Rosina, are set to stat on the bench.
Kick Off has also discovered that another debutant, Fiorentina’s Riccardo Montolivo, will probably start in midfield alongside De Rossi in a two-man defensive midfield line.
South African coach Carlos Alberto Parreira issues a warning: “These players will be hungry to impress their coach and use this opportunity well.”
“If you look at the debutants the are between 22 and 26 years of age. They are now ready to break into their national team.”
The difference is that these players are regulars for Seria A clubs.
On the contrary, Parreira is finding that many of his players of the same age are either struggling for game time or just beginning careers in Europe. Others who play in South Africa have very little development under their belts.
This, he says, is where the gap is between Italian and South African football.
“These friendlies are simply about giving our players experience. We are very happy to play against the best to improve our players.
“I believe that our players are now understanding the bigger picture, which is World Cup 2010.”