Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
It’s been a funny build-up to the World Cup for holders Italy.
The words “South Africa” have barely been mentioned in the last week despite the Azzurri being huddled up in an Alpine ski resort trying to get used to altitude conditions.
Hardly anyone has talked about the World Cup with the focus instead being on a new coach after the tournament and which clubs players will be at next season.
Cesare Prandelli will replace national coach Marcello Lippi in July, even if Lippi never announced he was leaving and no one told Prandelli’s club Fiorentina that a deal had been done.
Fabio Cannavaro signed forAl Ahli of Dubai while Alberto Gilardino and Gianluigi Buffon talked mainly about their club futures.
Ever since returning to Serie A following their demotion for match-fixing, Juventus have had a terrible run in the transfer market.
Third and second-placed finishes in their two years back in the top flight are largely thanks to players who stuck with Juve during their season in Serie B such as Alessandro Del Piero and Giorgio Chiellini.
Italy’s entire soccer infrastructure needs an overhaul, captain Fabio Cannavaro said after the world champions arrived home from their Confederations Cup nightmare.
Elimination in the group stages after defeats to Egypt and Brazil followed a difficult few weeks for Serie A, with AC Milan’s Kaka sold to Real Madrid and other top players threatening to leave the stuttering league.
Italy may be thinking the gods are against them after World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out of Euro 2008 after being injured in their first training session in Austria. They needn’t worry too much.
The 2006 World Player of Year suffered ankle ligament damage after a robust tackle by fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini, who will now be in the running to take his place in the backline.