Football: Misbehave and you won't make World Cup squad, says Italy coach

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has warned that players won't be considered for the World Cup if they are sent off or caught misbehaving in club matches before the end of the season. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has warned that players won't be considered for the World Cup if they are sent off or caught misbehaving in club matches before the end of the season. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has warned that players won't be considered for the World Cup if they are sent off or caught misbehaving in club matches before the end of the season.

He also effectively ruled out veteran AS Roma forward Francesco Totti's hopes of making the squad but would not commit himself on the chances of injured striker Giuseppe Rossi.

Prandelli, famous for his tough disciplinary stand against bad behaviour, was speaking to reporters as 42 World Cup hopefuls gathered for two days of fitness tests at Italy's national team headquarters outside Florence. "This morning I faced the players and reminded them that the code of ethics will remain in force in the final month (before the World Cup)," said Prandelli. "Anyone who messes around will stay at home, because it will mean that they can't handle the pressure of a World Cup. "I'm sick and tired of seeing certain types of behaviour. National team players should have the strength to avoid rising to provocation. "But I'm convinced that nobody will make a mistake. When I spoke to the players about this, none of them objected," he added.

The 42 hoping to go to Brazil included some surprises such as Verona's Brazilian-born midfielder Romulo and 20-year-old Federico Bernardeschi who plays for second tier FC Crotone.

Parma striker Antonio Cassano, who has not played for Italy since Euro 2012, was included but veterans Francesco Totti, Luca Toni and Antonio Di Natale were all missing.

AS Roma striker Mattia Destro, serving a four-match ban for elbowing an opponent in a match at Cagliari, was also left out as he became the latest player to fall foul of Prandelli's code. "This code is a demand of mine, " said Prandelli. "In one of my first team talks, I asked whether a player who elbows another deserves to play for the national team and the players said no." Since taking over in 2010, Prandelli has warned that he will not tolerate misbehaviour by his players, even at club level, and has dropped those who have broken his rules.

Italy face fellow former World Cup winners Uruguay and England plus Costa Rica in Group D at the finals which kick off on June 12.