On 10 February, it is fitting that the capital of world football, London, will host two of the most storied teams in an international friendly: Italia x Brasil.
But once again, Carlos Dunga, the manager of Brasil, has decided not to select Amauri of Juventus. Which further fuels speculation that Amauri will feature for the Azzurri. Sooner rather than later.
"Amauri è un giocatore che la gente sta tenendo d'occhio e affrontare l'Italia in questo momento gli metterebbe addosso troppa pressione."
"Amari is a player that people are watching and to face Italy right now it would put him under too much pressure."Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 26 January 2009.
On Lippi's Radar
He is still awaiting his Italian passport, and Marcello Lippi has hinted that once the paperwork is finalized, he may become the second naturalized Azzurro (Camoranesi of Argentina is the first) in the modern era. Naturalized Italian players from South America are called "oriundi." In fact, if we look back at World Cup history, several played for the Azzurri during the 1934 and 1938 competitions, respectively.
Competitive Fixture Next June
Brasil and Italy will meet again in June during the Confederations Cup in South Africa. Will Amauri be wearing the colors of Brasil or Italy? Or will his international future still be undetermined? If we examine the respective strike forces, Amauri has a better chance with Italy. Luca Toni's form has been inconsistent on the international stage. Traditionally, Italy likes to play a target hit man up front (il punto pesante) to complement a more creative partner. Which might be Giuseppe Rossi of Villarreal. There is also the possibility that Amauri's teammate at Juventus, Alex Del Piero, might be another candidate for that role. He is a favorite of Mister Lippi, and despite his age, still is a component of the Azzurri set up.
Brasil Roster (50% play in the Serie A) for the London Friendly
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter), Doni (Roma).
Defenders: Maicon (Inter), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Adriano (Sevilla), Lucio (Bayern Munich), Juan (Roma), Thiago Silva (Milan-Newly signed but can't play in Serie A until next season).
Midfielders: Luisao (Benfica), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Josuè (Wolfsburg), Anderson (Manchester United), Felipe Melo (Fiorentina), Elano (Manchester City).
Strikers: Julio Baptista (Roma), Kaká (Milan), Ronaldinho (Milan), Robinho (Manchester City), Pato (Milan), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Adriano (Inter).
Update: 31 January 2009
Due to an injury to Luis Fabiano, Amauri was selected to take his place by Mister Dunga. But Juventus will not release him since the written request, according to President Cobolli-Gigli on Sky Sport, had not arrived and if it arrives, would be outside of the FIFA release window. Good news for Mister Lippi.