Fiorentina, supported by 30,000 fans, will play at the Stadio Olimpico in a couple hours, their first final since their most recent Coppa Italia victory in 2000. 14 years have passed since the team guided by bandiere Francesco Toldo and Manuel Rui Costa claimed the cup, and enthusiasm is unbelievably high at the prospect of returning to win silverware only two seasons after a massive roster overhaul and the installment of Vincenzo Montella as head coach.
Fiorentina are still recovering key pieces for this biggest of big matches, especially in attack where the Giuseppe Rossi may feature but likely for very little time, Mario Gomez has only recently returned to training, and Juan Cuadrado is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. The rumored attacking trident is expected to be a reflection of Montella's philosophy, ignoring frustration-headache inducing Alessandro Matri in favor of the trickery of Josip Ilicic and Joaquin, with Borja Valero recovering from a midweek knock to potentially play in between them as a false 9. In midfield Alberto Aquilani, David Pizarro, and Juan Manuel Vargas as the triangle. In defense Nenad Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Stefan Savic, and Manuel Pasqual. Norberto Neto - unquestionably one of the heroes of our cup run - will make it between the posts despite a problem with his hand in training this week.
As far as Napoli are concerned, it isn't difficult to guess the formation favored by Rafa Benitez, with his usual 4-2-3-1 weathering all kinds of absences, although his hands are hardly tied for this big game. The big question mark ahead of this game from a Neapolitan point of view was the fitness of Gonzalo Higuain, who regardless is expected to start. The three creative players behind the Argentine are projected to be Dries Mertens, Marek Hamsik, and Jose Callejon, with Jorginho and Inler the holding midfielders. Henrique, Raul Albiol, Federico Fernandez, Faouzi Ghoulam will make up the back four, with Pepe Reina in goal. For more on where Napoli are ahead of this match, check out the match preview over at the SB Nation Napoli blog.
What more is there to be said? It feels only right for us to come out of this season with a trophy, and get to wear the wonderful Coppa Italia patch above the badge for the first time in over a decade. Montella deserves it, the fans deserve it, the Della Valle deserve it, and the players deserve it. But that's not how this game works. We need to go out and play our game and look to come through in the big moment. It should be a breathless game with both sets of fans fired up... I will post the official lineups on the site when we have them, but for now, simply FORZA VIOLA RAGAZZI!!!
FIORENTINA (4-3-1-2) Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo, Savic, Pasqual; Aquilani, Pizarro, Vargas; Borja Valero; Joaquin, Ilicic
Napoli (4-2-3-1) Reina; Henrique, Albiol, Fernandez, Ghoulam; Inler, Jorginho; Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens; Higuain