Alberto Gilardino (Italy)

July 5, 1982 is an important date in Italian football for two reasons. While Paolo Rossi was scoring his historic World Cup hat-trick in the 3-2 win over Brazil in Barce-lona, 700 kilometres away in Biella, a baby was being born who is now well on the way to following in the footsteps of Rossi, Schillaci and Co; a certain Alberto Gilardino.

Now 22, Gilardino is already an established name for Serie A. He made his debut in January 2000 aged 17 for FC Piacenza, and has since gone on to make 110 appearances in Italy’s premier division. His strengths are numerous — he is fast, good in the air, has a powerful shot with either foot, and he is a team player.

Filippo Inzaghi (Italy)

Like a predator seeking his prey, Filippo Inzaghi’s instincts are all set to scoring goals. He is hoping to feature in his third World Cup after playing at the 1998 and 2002 finals.

Born on August 9, ‘Superpippo’ won top scorer honours and the young player of the year award in 1997 while at Atalanta. He then moved to Juventus and won the league title the following season. He won the UEFA Champions League with AC Milan in 2003. With Milan, he also won the Serie A title in 2004. The striker played for Italy at UEFA Euro 2000 but missed out on Euro 2004 due to a serious ankle injury, but has finally recovered his goalscoring form in 2005/06.