Italy coach since June 2008
His previous two-year stint as Azzurri coach saw them win the 2006 World Cup. He has racked up club trophies, including five Serie A titles, four Italian Supercups and a Champions League crown, and will be hell-bent on seeing Italy retain the world crown.
100 caps (0 goals)
His injury-enforced absence from Juventus earlier this year was certainly one of the reasons for his club’s disappointing season. Quite simply, he remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Morgan DE SANCTIS:
3 caps (0 goals)
Around the international squad for five years, he returned to Italy this year after two seasons abroad, first with Sevilla and then with Galatasaray, clearly with an eye on winning a call-up for South Africa.
4 caps (0 goals)
A major “discovery” last season, he made his debut in a friendly against Northern Ireland last June. Now established as the second choice and clearly a future heir to Buffon’s throne, he appears to have all the qualities of a top-class goalkeeper.
3 caps (0 goals)
Full-back who acquitted himself well when making his debut last October. He has been in excellent form for Genoa and looks good for a squad place for all the same reasons as his club team-mate Criscito.
1 cap (goals)
In 2009, was transferred to Genoa, as part of the deal that sent Thiago Motta and Diego Milito to Inter. An impressive debut against Cameroon in March might just earn this central defender a surprise call-up.
132 caps (2 goals)
Arguably Italy’s best player in Germany four years ago, he is clearly no longer playing to that stratospheric level – and some even question the wisdom of playing him in South Africa. Recent good form, however, suggests that his massive experience will mask potential problems.
28 caps (2 goals)
Has looked less than infallible as the Juventus defence crashed all around him this season. At his best, a solid centre-back who is ultra-competitive and dangerous in the air when he moves forward for the set pieces. An automatic first choice for the last three seasons.
5 caps (0 goals)
Made his international debut against Switzerland last August and, given the all too obvious cracks in the Juventus-block defence, his youth, dynamism and willingness to get forward could serve Italy well.
No youngster but rather an experienced, versatile right-sided defender or midfielder. Maggio usually plays as a right midfielder/winger for Napoli since they play in a 3-5-2 formation. However he has played at right back for the majority of his career.
92 caps (2 goals)
Has occasionally looked jaded this season, but earns his place both because of his great experience and also because of his versatility – he can play on either flank, in defence or in midfield.
53 caps (5 goals)
Lippi has always looked to him to relieve Pirlo of playmaking responsibilities since, at his best, he is one of those players who can make things happen. The only Italo-Argentine of the modern era.
Daniele DE ROSSI
53 Caps (8 goals)
Combines quantity with quality in his ball-winning central midfield role. Roma’s excellent season arguably owes more to him than any other Roma player, Totti included. As always, much will ride on his shoulders.
71 caps (1 goal)
Fond memory of his many past outstanding performances for Italy probably him a place in South Africa. He once said that, for him, winning the ball in midfield was as good as winning the Ballon D’Or. A combative battler, he remains much respected by colleagues.
4 caps (0 goals)
A rarity in that he is one of the few Juventus players to have emerged from this season with his reputation enhanced. A dynamic, attacking, left-sided midfielder, he represents the best of the Italian “new wave”.
12 caps (0 goals)
Recalled for recent friendlies, could get call as midfield cover. In Italy’s provisional squad before the Euro 2008 tournament, but failed to make the final 23.
15 caps (1 goal)
One of the surprises of Lippi’s second coming. In the injury-enforced absence of Gattuso, he established a firm hold of a central midfield berth. Very much a no-thrills, no-spills defensive midfielder in the best Italian traditions and for those reasons very useful.
13 caps (0 goals)
Attacking midfielder and regular Lippi selection who played in three of Italy’s four autumn qualifiers. Noted for his quick pace and flamboyant dribbling.
65 caps (8 goals)
If he finds space and plays well, then so too does Italy. One of the last of the great midfield playmaker/schemers, he has struggled at times in this season’s less than vintage Milan sie.
Antonio DI NATALE
31 Caps (9 goals)
In prolific goalscoring form thias season despite Udinese being at the wrong end of the table. Also scored important goals for Italy during the qualifying, particularly two in the opening win away to Cyprus.
39 caps (16 goals)
His ability to play as a central target man who holds up the ball for attacking midfielders has long made him a Lippi favourite. Furthermore, two excellent seasons at Fiorentina have done him no harm.
35 caps (5 goals)
Faster and more dynamic than Gilardino, he too stands high in Lippi’s estimation. Although he has had a very indifferent, injury interrupted season, he may well get the call-up.
6 caps (1 goal)
A player brought into the side by Lippi, his development has greatly benefitted from the creative genius of “bad boy” club team-mate Antonio Cassano. Faster and more mobile than either Iaquinta or Gilardino, he offers a useful alternative.
17 caps (3 goals)
Experienced campaigner who has had a good first season with Napoli. Renowned for scoring spectacular goals from unconventional angles that often catch the goalkeeper unawares.
58 caps (9 goals)
The temptation to recall the man last seen in an Italy shirt in the Berlin Final may prove too strong. For most of the winter, Lippi and Totti have exchanged public expressions of mutual respect and admiration. A dramatic, last-minute recall for the most gifted Italian of his generation cannot be excluded.