A year ago at this time, Giuseppe Rossi found himself once again rehabbing from an anterior cruciate ligament injury for the second time in as many years. Needless to say, his thoughts about potentially representing Italy at the 2014 World Cup were the furthest thing from his mind, but slowly things began to change for him. In January, he was sold from Spanish club Villarreal to Serie A club Fiorentina, and as a result he found himself with a team and a coach that would know how to work him back.
Fast forward to today and Rossi has had a great start to the Serie A season for Fiorentina as he has scored five goals in eight league games to date while he has also scored another goal in two Europa League games giving Rossi six goals in ten games. Because of this great start, Rossi has been rightfully rewarded with a call up for the last two World Cup Qualifiers Italy will play against Denmark and Armenia.
While many may see the call up for two “meaningless” games as a nice and deserved reward for a player who has had to deal with and overcome a lot in his professional career, especially the last two seasons, the call up of Rossi by Cesare Prandelli to the ‘Azzurri’ means a lot more than a nice reward for a player who is currently in form. There is a legitimate and viable argument to be made that if Rossi stays healthy and is playing well, he can and will be headed to Brazil next summer.
What Giuseppe Rossi brings to the fold is that he gives Prandelli a player who is a reliable and proven goal scorer at the club and international level — he has scored six times in 27 games for the Azzurri. In addition to being a proven goal scorer, Rossi provides Prandelli with a player who has tactical and formation flexibility. If Prandelli decided to play in a 3-5-2 formation, he can serve as the perfect partner for Mario Balotelli as Rossi’s ability to drop deep frees up Balotelli to stay up closer in the final third and draw attention of opposition defenses to free up the other Italy attacking players.
If Prandelli opts to play in a 4-3-3 or a 4-3-1-2 formation, Rossi can either play as a withdrawn striker from the wing or as the support striker. It is clear that a healthy and productive Rossi can only make the Azzurri a stronger squad and fortify their chances of winning the World Cup next summer. It is also quite clear that with his most recent call up to the Azzurri, Giuseppe Rossi can be a player that has all the playing qualities and arguments to be a part of the 23 man squad for the World Cup.