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World Cup: Italy drops 2006 hero Fabio Grosso from 2010 squad

May 18, 2010 | 12:15 pm

Defender Fabio Grosso, one of Italy's most influential players when it won the World Cup in Germany four years ago, was one of two casualties Tuesday when Italy Coach Marcello Lippi reduced his roster for the 2010 tournament in South Africa to 28. The other player cut was midfielder Antonio Candreva.

Grosso, 32, scored the winning goal against host Germany in the semifinal in Dortmund and the trophy-clinching penalty kick in the final in Berlin as Italy overcame France.

Grosso did not enjoy a particularly good season with Juventus, and being dropped came as only a mild surprise. The roster still features eight players from the 2006 team: goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, defenders Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluca Zambrotta, midfielders Gennaro Gattuso, Mauro Camoranesi and Daniele De Rossi, and forwards Alberto Gilardino and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Lippi still has to cut another five players by June 1. In its final two warm-up matches before leaving for South Africa, Italy plays Mexico in Brussels on June 3 and Switzerland in Geneva on June 5. The defending world champion's first-round opponents at the World Cup are, in order, Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia.

--Grahame L. Jones