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No Cassano, No Miccoli in Italy WQ squad
The count-down to the World Cup has started (40 days to go) and the first call-ups have arrived, for a training camp at La Borghesiana in Rome from tomorrow until 5 May. Pazzini and Borriello are in while the Juventus forward and Miccoli are left out. We offer our regular round-up on the main contenders for South Africa.

There are just 40 days to go until the World Cup in South Africa. Lippi's choices for the first training camp at La Borghesiana in Rome, from midnight tomorrow until 5 May, have been published. The big news is that Amauri, eligible for the first time having finally acquired an Italian passport, is not on the list due to his terrible current form. Neither is Miccoli, who by contrast is in fantastic condition. Both Pazzini and Borriello are included but Roma and Inter players, involved in Wednesday's Cup Final at the Olimpico in Rome, are not eligible for this camp, and Giuseppe Rossi is likewise excluded due to his commitments in Spain.

the squad timetable — The boss will issue an initial call-up of 30 players on 11 May, a list which can be altered in case of injuries, and then select the final 23 from among this group. By 18 May, once the championship is over, the list of 23 + 4 first choice reserves will be announced. The manager has always stated that the final Serie A games will be decisive for the selection of the last 5 or 6 players for the squad. Taking today's announcement into consideration, we offer our regular assessment of the chances of eligible players, to show how their performance every weekend could raise or lower their chances as they compete for a place in the World Cup side.

The 29 players called upKeepers: Buffon, De Sanctis, Marchetti, Sirigu. Defenders: Bocchetti, Bonucci, Cannavaro, Cassani, Chiellini, Criscito, Grosso, Legrottaglie, Maggio, Zambrotta. Midfielders: Camoranesi, Candreva, Cossu, Gattuso, Marchisio, Montolivo, Palombo, Pepe, Pirlo. Forwards: Borriello, Di Natale, Gilardino, Iaquinta, Pazzini, Quagliarella.

the outlook: defence — Four keepers are in consideration, in the following order: Buffon as first choice, Marchettifirst reserve, De Sanctis as third keeper, and Sirigu an outsider. In defence Maggio - back against Chievo from the start - has a better chance than Cassani as a back-up to Zambrotta, while Bonucci, who was excellent against Genoa, is favourite over Bocchetti as the fourth centre-back. The others are Chiellini, Cannavaroand Legrottaglie, in the manager's order of preference. On the left it seems already decided: Criscito and Grosso, even though the Juve player has been on the bench recently. Most likely Lippi will select 11 players - the three keepers plus eight defenders.

midfield here — Pirlo, Marchisio (who scored against Catania) and De Rossi are guaranteed places in the squad. It seems most likely that Camoranesi and Gattuso will join them. Another two places in the squad remain: a right winger, and Pepe (impressive at Cagliari) is favourite over Cossu; and a central midfielder, with Palombo and Montolivocompeting for a spot, unless Lippi decides to take both at the expense of a defender. Candreva has played relatively little for Juve and remains an outsider, since seven players are likely to be called up.

attack — This is the trickiest area, since this is where the big names who excite the fans are all competing, and where certain exclusions become controversial. It has been clear for some time that Cassano and Balotelli would not be included, now Miccoli and Amauri can be added to that list, with the later excluding himself through his recent performances. Gilardino, Iaquinta and Di Natale can be sure of their spots but Pazzini and (less likely)Borriello are still competing for a place, though the boss could chose to take both. Toni's chances look slim now. As a second striker, an alternative to Di Natale, options include Quagliarella, Rossi, and even maybe Totti. Five players will probably be chosen but we will have a better idea on 11 May, when Roma's players can be taken into consideration.
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