Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli is dealt a blow ahead of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine as Giuseppe Rossi is out for 6 months.
The star Villarreal striker is a no-go for Italy this June and will therefore miss out on the up-coming European Championship which would have been his first tournament as an Azzurri.
Rossi had been out for six months after injuring his right knee ligament earlier on in the season. The US-born Italian international returned to full training this month only to have reinjured the same right knee ligament and has been deemed out indefinitely for Italy as he will sit out on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
Prandelli has had a difficult time preparing his frontline as he has been deprived of his star strikers Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi for most of the season. The former is back to full training for club side AC Milan.
As seen in the last friendly match against the United States, the Azzurri had most of the possession and created several opportunities to bag goals, but came up short as the frontline lacks effective goal scorers. Being placed in Group C, which could also be deemed a ‘group of death’ with Spain, Republic of Ireland and Croatia, the Italians cannot afford an insufficient attack as their qualification will depend on their ability to score goals.
Who will the Italy tactician call up to replace Pepito Rossi? Thinking as an Azzurri coach, here are some of the best possible replacements:
Manchester City striker, Mario Balotelli would be a great replacement but has the tendency to commit very silly fouls leading to expulsion, in which case, may cause Italy dearly in a short competition like the Euro. Is he capable of behaving appropriately with teammates, opponents, and spectators? Balo has all the talent in the world: strength, drive, speed, desire. He just needs to get his act together. Prandelli has warned, though, that he will only choose players who respect his code of ethics. Balotelli, unfortunately, does not fulfill this requirement. Although there is another month and a half for Prandelli to buckle down and make his choices, it may be too little too late for the Man City striker. Should Prandelli give Mario Balotelli a chance? Is it worth missing out on bringing a great option that can change the face of the game such as Mario? This season, Balotelli has scored 13 goals out of 75 shots in 22 games.
Perhaps the better choice is Turin-native Sebastian Giovinco. Nicknamed the Atomic Ant for his pint-sized body, Giovinco possesses strong dribbling and passing abilities, accuracy, and is capable of scoring as well as creating goal-scoring opportunities. Unlike Balotelli, Giovinco is able to keep a cool head and think for the better of the team. He has a lot to prove and has a strong desire to be called up for the Euro tourney to represent his country. This could be the chance for Giovinco to ply his skills on a big stage. This season, the Parma striker has scored 11 goals out of 114 shots in 30 appearances.
Both players’ statistics are comparable. Balotelli has scored more goals with fewer shots in fewer games. Typically though, the English Premiership League is not known for tight defenses and talented goalkeepers whereas the Italian Serie A is well known for just the opposite.
Who do you think should be the player replacing Giuseppe Rossi?