Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Totti could return to Azzurri for World Cup

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has revealed Francesco Totti could return to the Azzurri squad for the 2014 World Cup.

Italy national team manager Cesare Prandelli has revealed A.S. Roma forward Francesco Totti could return to the Azzurri for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Totti, 37, has started the 2013/14 Serie A campaign on scintillating form for the Giallorossi, who are currently top-of-the-table, having won all seven of their league fixtures.

The 37-year-old talisman, who has spent his entire club career at the Stadio Olimpico, scored nine international goals for Italy in 58 caps between 1998 and 2006 before hanging up his boots following the Azzurri’s World Cup triumph in 2006.

“Players with great talent like Francesco [Totti], like Parma’s Antonio Cassano, are always under observation,” said Prandelli.

“We’ll evaluate Totti a month before the World Cup. But a Totti like this is a player to talk about, to reflect upon, it is a fantastic Totti.

“If the World Cup was today then I would absolutely call him up, there is no doubt about that.

“I haven’t spoken to him about it, there is no need eight months before the event.”

Totti, who put pen to paper on a new two-year contract extension at the Stadio Olimpico last month, has bagged three goals and six assists in seven league appearances for Roma this term.

With that said, Italy will play their next two World Cup qualifiers on Friday and Tuesday, against Denmark and Armenia, without the services of the aforementioned Totti.

The Azzurri are backed by the bookmakers at 2/1 to beat Denmark on Friday night, with Mario Balotelli 6/1 to score first or last.

Meanwhile, in-form ACF Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi, who has bagged six goals in nine appearances in all competitions for the Viola this season, is 5/2 to score anytime for Italy.

On the other side of the touchline, Denmark are 11/8 to win, with Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner backed at 8/5 to score anytime for the hosts.

The 25-year-old has been recalled to the Denmark squad after regaining his first-team place at Arsenal following two years on loan away from the Emirates Stadium at Sunderland (2011/12) and Juventus (2012/13), respectively.

“I think that Nicklas is dedicated, otherwise he couldn’t have come in the physical shape he is in. Now it’s up to him”, De Rød-Hvide boss Morten Olsen told DR.

“He has an opportunity he knows well and with a team he loves to play for.

“So if he is not dedicated here, I would not know what to say, but I think that he is.”

Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Nicklas Helenius (Aston Villa) and Viktor Fischer (Ajax) are among the notable players included in the Denmark squad for Friday’s qualifier against Italy.


Shawn Etemadi



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