One of the keys to success in international tournaments is having a good plan and sticking to it. To Cesare Prandelli, apparently having a good plan is to have a whole bunch of them and swap between them as needed.
Italy haven't always been known as the most tactically flexible of nations when it comes to the World Cup and other tournaments. Whether it's a fair reputation or not, that's what it is. Cesare Prandelli wants to change that, though.
The squad is already in Brazil and starting training, and have a friendly scheduled against local club side Fluminese tomorrow. Prandelli has already released his lineup, and aside from it being very definitely his second unit, some are having a hard time figuring out the formation. Is it a 4-3-3? Is it a 4-2-3-1? Is it a diamond midfield with Alessio Cerci at the tip? What is it?
That confusion is exactly what Prandelli is going for. The harder it is for his opponents to figure out what his gameplan is, the easier it will be for Italy to force their will on a match. A well organized squad always has the advantage against one that's scattered and doesn't know what to expect.
This mindset helps explain some of the squad choices that Prandelli made, particularly in choosing Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne and Torino's Alessio Cerci over Giuseppe Rossi, fitness concerns or no. Players like them, Aquilani, Parolo, and Marchisio help give Prandelli incredible lineup versatility, not just allowing him to make massive changes in and between matches, but to give the opposing manager a hard time just figuring out what's coming when the lineup card is handed in.
If Italy have any advantage to play in this tournament, that's it. This as much as squad quality and performance could be the thing that gets them through the group and in to the knockout rounds. Seeing how it shakes out starting on June 14th should be fascinating.