Italy coach Marcello Lippi expressed his sadness after cutting Fabio Grosso from his provisional FIFA World Cup squad.
Lippi announced that Juventus defender Grosso and Udinese midfielder Antonio Candreva, who played on loan at Juve last term, missed out as he trimmed his 30-man party for South Africa to 28.
Candreva's omission from the list came as no surprise considering he has made only one appearance for the Azzurri since his senior debut last November.
Grosso, however, was expected to be included.
The 32-year-old Juve left-back impressed during Italy's triumphant campaign in Germany four years ago, scoring the first goal against Germany in the semi-final and the winning spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out against France in the final.
Lippi said: "It was hard to call him (Grosso), just as it was tough not to call 14 of the 23 players with whom I shared important moments in Germany.
"I spoke to Fabio yesterday and you cannot imagine how saddened I was to make this call. But this is my decision.
"I don't make the Italy squad based on debts of merit because I cannot choose based on what happened in the past."
The veteran tactician must reduce his squad to 23 players by FIFA deadline of June 1.
"I will take 10 more days to reflect on the other five players that will be cut from the squad," he said.
Lippi also spoke today for the first time about Francesco Totti's exclusion from the preliminary party despite an impressive campaign with Roma.
Reports in Italy claimed Totti, who retired from the national team four years ago, could return to the Azzurri squad.
"I have a great rapport with Totti," he said. "We all know his problems (knee injuries), and how it's difficult for him to play a game every three days."
Lippi urged the Italian media to stand by the national team as they look to defend their title in South Africa.
"The media is an important part of the world of football and it's important to transmit to people a little bit of confidence," he said.
"There's only one way not to realise our dream and that is to have fear of not making it."
To get accustomed to the altitude in South Africa, Italy will hold their pre-tournament training camp in the northern Sestriere mountains in Turin, rather than at their traditional base of Coverciano in Florence, starting on 23 May and concluding on 5 June.
Italy will face Mexico on 3 June in Brussels and Switzerland two days later in Geneva as part of the build-up to the tournament.
The final squad will travel to South Africa on 8 June. They will train at Southdowns College in Irene - between Johannesburg and Pretoria - and stay at the nearby Leriba Lodge hotel in Centurion for the duration of the tournament.
The World champions begin the defence of their title in Group F against Paraguay in Cape Town on 14 June, then play New Zealand in Nelspruit on 20 June and Slovakia in Johannesburg on 24 June.
Italy preliminary squad (revised)
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari), Salvatore Sirigu (Palermo).
Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Mattia Cassani (Palermo), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan).
Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Andrea Cossu (Cagliari), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Andrea Pirlo (Milan).
Forwards: Marco Borriello (Milan), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal).
Source: Press Association Sport