Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has explained why he did not select Giuseppe Rossi and Mattia Destro in his FIFA World Cup™ squad. Both strikers voiced their frustration after failing to make the final cut, with Rossi's omission coming after the 27-year-old recovered from injury.
Speaking to www.figc.it, Prandelli said: "I didn't expect all these controversies. I don't want to make judgments but I feel the need to clarify what happened with regards to Rossi and Destro.
"With Rossi I have been very clear. The risk was great. I met with him in Coverciano (Italy's headquarters) on May 7 with the intention of telling him that he was not going to be in the 30-man preliminary squad.
"But then I thought he would be a good example for everyone. I thought that his story could be a beautiful one to tell."
The Fiorentina striker missed four months of the season with a right knee injury but returned to action last month. The 27-year-old, who was Viola's top scorer last season with 16 goals, started in Saturday's goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland in London.
I accepted his strong and beautiful challenge but I told him twice after the game against Ireland that he was not in the 23-man squad.
"Remember what I said to the media before, that regardless of what would happen, Rossi had already won his battle," Prandelli said. "I told Rossi prior to the game against Ireland that I needed to see something more from him on the pitch.
"I wanted to see a striker. But I didn't see what I wanted. I accepted his strong and beautiful challenge but I told him twice after the game against Ireland that he was not in the 23-man squad.
"I also told him that my decision had been a difficult one because he is a strong and important player, with whom we have experienced extraordinary times. But the risk was big and I was very clear with him clear and told him he had not completed the healing process."
Another player that was left out was Roma's top marksman Destro. However, he was offered the chance to travel to Brazil as a reserve player. Italy can replace any player in the squad up to 24 hours prior to their World Cup opener against England on June 14.
"With regards to Destro I spoke to him and I tried to make him understand that I didn't want to take three forwards to Brazil," Prandelli said. "Hence, I asked him if he would be ready to be a reverse player and he told me he would think about it.
"In that meeting, my assistant Gabriele Pin was present. In any case I told Destro that he is and will be an important player for us."
Ultimately, Destro was not named as a replacement player.