Under the (brave) assumption that Italy qualify for the 2024 European Championship in Germany, the Azzurri will arrive at the tournament as the reigning champions and attempt to defend their crown.
However, the squad should look much different from the one that triumphed at Euro 2020 as a number of players have retired or are close to retirement while others are a shadow of what they used to be.
It has not been a bright start for Italy, having lost to England in the opening Group C qualifier and only scoring twice in the win against Malta, surely forcing Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini to make further changes to his starting line-up.
Who is unlikely to be representing Italy from recent squads?
Mancini has continued to select Juventus veteran Leonardo Bonucci for Italy despite his share of fitness issues as well as declining form, but the centre-back has had to drop out of the squad numerous times. He will be 37 years old when the Euros start and he has shown minimal signs of recovering some of his past form.
Defenders Rafael Toloi and Francesco Acerbi started against England, and were clearly out of their depth. The duo will be 33 and 36 years of age respectively when Euro 2024 starts, and it is evident that Italy cannot bring two mediocre veterans to the tournament.
Although the uncompromising Gianluca Mancini is a solid performer for AS Roma, the truth is that he has been horrible for the Azzurri and Roberto Mancini should steer clear of the often-headless defender.
Arsenal midfielder Jorginho will be 32 when the Euros start, but his form for the Azzurri since the Euro 2020 Final has been woeful. No longer the reliable conductor in midfield for Mancini, the Italian coach needs to find another player who can direct the play in the middle of the park and take effective penalties.
Up front, it seems unlikely that AS Roma striker Andrea Belotti will make it into the Italian squad unless he has an incredible burst of form. Although he has scored three goals in nine Europa League matches this season, the 29-year-old has failed to score in 22 Serie A appearances for the Giallorossi. In addition to scoring just 12 times for Italy in 44 games, Mancini has little incentive to select Belotti.
Which Italy players are likely to make the trip to Germany?
In goal, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Alex Meret should have secure spots, while the search for another goalkeeper will continue, with the likes of Ivan Provedel, Guglielmo Vicario, and Wladimiro Falcone all being capable reserves.
The Inter duo of Alessandro Bastoni and Federico Dimarco will probably make the squad as both players are excellent at bringing the ball out of defence while Alessio Romagnoli has been revived at Lazio. With more experience under his belt, Mancini should have more trust in him and, hopefully, Mancini can bring in his defensive partner Nicolo Casale.
Mancini will have an abundance of options in midfield and working out who should start will be his greatest challenge. Sandro Tonali, Nicolo Barella, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Manuel Locatelli will probably make the trip to Germany while the likes of Davide Frattesi and Bryan Cristante should not be ruled out.
Oriundo Mateo Retegui has been impressive with Tigre in Argentina and will surely make a move to Serie A rather than return to parent club Boca Juniors, and Wilfried Gnonto has been a great discovery and is performing well in the Premier League.
If no other centre-forwards emerge, Ciro Immobile will probably have his international career prolonged. With Andrea Pinamonti struggling at Sassuolo and Gianluca Scamacca failing to establish himself at West Ham United, it further justifies Mancini’s justification to select Retegui and also turn to Immobile for the sake of experience.
Sassuolo talisman Domenico Berardi has been a regular feature of the Italy squad but his place could be in doubt in the future. After his squandered opportunity against North Macedonia in early 2022, Matteo Politano starring in a competitive Napoli side, and other wide forwards emerging, the 28-year-old might need to watch over his shoulder.
If the likes of Marco Verratti, Federico Chiesa, and Nicolo Zaniolo can avoid injury, then Mancini will pick them. Despite varying drops in form and injury woes, they are arguably the three most technically gifted players Italy have got.
Who could burst into Mancini’s squad?
Despite the problems Mattia Zaccagni might have had with Zaniolo in previous training camps, Mancini should not rule him out of the Italy squad. If the former AS Roma forward cannot rediscover his form with Galatasaray or his knees give him grief again, there should be more reason to pick the Lazio winger.
Along with Biancocelesti teammate Immobile, Zaccagni is the highest-scoring Italian in Serie A this season with nine goals so far and can add an X-factor.
Giacomo Raspadori is out of the current squad due to injury, but the Napoli forward has been decent when representing his country, scoring five goals in 17 matches. If he can make some solid contributions at club level once he regains fitness, he can add some extra sharpness up front.
Juventus starlets Fabio Miretti and Nicolo Fagioli should display further improvements in their development and become reliable contributors in the Italy midfield.
Potential Italy squad at Euro 2024
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alex Meret, Ivan Provedel.
Giorgio Scalvini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Bastoni, Alessio Romagnoli, Leonardo Spinazzola, Davide Calabria, Nicolo Casale, Federico Gatti, Federico Dimarco.
Marco Verratti, Bryan Cristante, Sandro Tonali, Nicolo Fagioli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Davide Frattesi, Fabio Miretti.
Ciro Immobile, Wilfried Gnonto, Federico Chiesa, Mateo Retegui, Matteo Politano, Giacomo Raspadori, Nicolo Zaniolo.