Just a day after negotiations were reported to be underway, it's official: Antonio Conte is the new manager of Italy.
#Azzurri: è ufficiale Antonio #Conte è il nuovo Ct della #Nazionale Italiana di #Calcio! #VivoAzzurro #FIGC #Italia pic.twitter.com/HUX1XSIBb2— Nazionale Italiana (@Vivo_Azzurro) August 14, 2014
It's been the obvious fit ever since Conte resigned his Juventus post last month.Tactically and stylistically, Conte's a great fit for the players available to Italy right now (it helps that seemingly half of those are Juve players), and his track record of success is certainly attractive. If he can bring his club success to the international stage, Italy can become a force again.
Conte takes over from Cesare Prandelli, who resigned after Italy's group stage exit, and is reported to have signed a two-year contract that will take him through the 2016 European Championships. That's a pretty standard contract term these days for international managers, and assuming he finds success in the meantime offering him a new contract will be a no-brainer. Of course, he could always get the itch to coach at the club level again, but that will have to be seen in the meantime.
Conte's first test will be early next month when Italy host the Netherlands, who finished third in the World Cup, on September fourth, then go to Norway on the ninth. Conte has a lot of work in store to get Italy back to the heights that it arguably belongs in, as evidenced by two straight group stage exits at the World Cup with pitiful displays after winning it all in 2006.
It could prove interesting to see how this affects the Azzurri careers of Christian Maggio and Lorenzo Insigne. Maggio's on the downswing of his career, but operates similarly to how Conte seems to like his fullbacks to work. Insigne has had a hard time fully breaking in to the senior Italian side, but Conte has expressed admiration for the attacker in the past, and he certainly has all the grinta Conte loves from his forwards. This move could actually be a good thing for Napoli's main Italian stars.