Mancini Mulling Over Final Selections for World Cup Playoffs

Roberto Mancini will name the squad for the World Cup playoffs Friday. He plans to call up a large roster for the occasion. While the core group of the Euro will mostly be untouched, he is weighing a few names on the fringes, La Gazzetta dello Sport informs.

Ciro Immobile, Andrea Belotti and Gianluca Scamacca will be the top strikers. Giacomo Raspadori is almost a lock too considering he can feature in other positions. The gaffer is considering adding another center-forward, either Mario Balotelli or Joao Pedro. The former has been more prolific, but he plays in a lesser league, and his presence is always somewhat controversial. The former has stopped scoring but might accept a limited role more easily.

According to the publication, Pierluigi Gollini will replace the injured Alex Meret as the fourth-string goalkeeper. Mancini plans to have around 30 players at his disposal for the World Cup playoffs. However, he is keeping tabs on a few injuries and will be extra cautious. For instance, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have missed time lately. The Juventus captain will probably be spared in the first game and eventually feature in the second one.

Federico Bernardeschi is one of the question marks because of his recent absence. Federico Chiesa and Leonardo Spinazzola are the only Euro winners currently on the mend. Nicolò Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini are available, differently from the summer.

Italy will face North Macedonia in Palermo next Thursday. It will be one of the first sporting events in the Peninsula with full capacity. Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced that the government would lift the 75 percent restriction for the game. If the Azzurri were successful, they would take on either Portugal or Turkey on the road the following Sunday.