Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Surprise Selections (and other news) from Group F, the Easiest Group in South Africa -- Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia, and New Zealand

Group F is, by far, the easiest group in South Africa, which means it's a godsend for defending champion Italy, which always starts slowly. The fight for second will be between Paraguay and Slovakia; New Zealand is in the running to be the worst team ever to go to a World Cup tournament.


This being Italy, there was enormous controversy surrounding the announcement of the squad, despite the fact that there were no real surprises. The Italian press has been militating for months for a squad place for Sampadoria's hot-tempered Antonio Cassano, but manager Marcello Lippi made clear months ago that he wasn't coming to South Africa. Yes, striker Luca Toni (Roma) was left off the squad but he looked too old even four years ago. Yes, there was no recall for the internationally retired Francesco Totti (Roma) but last-minute recalls are few and far between on World Cup squads. And yes, hero from last time Fabio Grosso was left off the squad, but anyone who has seen him play at Inter and then Juventus over the past 18 months can understand why. He's lost it.

For more, read here.

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