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Italy fall in FIFA rankings as questions loom on Conte's future

The Italian national team has sunk to its lowest FIFA ranking in some time as many question the future of its manager with the squad.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

It's been a hard year for the Italian national team, suffering an epic failure in the World Cup and struggling to truly convince in its first matches under Antonio Conte despite a strong start on paper in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. That's lead to a drop for the Azzurri in the FIFA world rankings, sliding to 12th place in the - admittedly controversial - ranking system put out by the world's governing football organization.

The slide drops them below Switzerland, as Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler's side has been bumped to 11th place despite their own not-entirely-impressive results of late. At least their ranking still has them above England, who slumped to 15th and will face Italy in a friendly on March 30th. The 12th place worldwide rating for the Azzurri also leaves them as the eighth-ranked side in Europe, with four South American sides in the world top ten.

Italy's slip in the rankings only increases the storm of questions surrounding Conte's stability as the squad's manager. After his attempt to organize national team training camps outside the usual FIFA windows was shot down by Serie A clubs' unwillingness to release players, many have thought that Conte would leave his post after one of the main things he was promised when he took the national team job was lost.

Conte, though, has hushed such talk for the time being, saying that he intends to see out his contract, which runs through the European Championships in 2016. That hasn't quelled speculation that he might join Milan or even Napoli next season, but for the time being at least, it looks as though he's staying put. We'll see how that status holds once the next bump in the road crops up.