Italy crashed out of the Confederations Cup after only edging the United States for a hard win, losing at the hands of Egypt and being humiliated by three goals to nothing against a much-better Brazilian team.
The critics are ready to aim a great deal of criticism at Marcello Lippi, as the Italian press is a master of censure.
The greatly-impaired journey of the Italians is a signal of the end of an era and a beginning of a brand, new one.
Lippi brought a highly-experienced side to the Confederations Cup with the announced squad-list mainly consisting of old players.
While Lippi had the chance of testing Inter's promising full-back Davide Santon among other young talents, the Italian manager opted to stick with his old plans.
His plan clearly backfired and the World Cup holders struggled to keep their heads high in South Africa. It was clear in Italy's three matches that there were a few major problems in the team:
Lippi should have tested some of the younger Italian players who showed promise with him in some international games and at club level.
The former Juventus manager recalled Gennaro Gattuso and Mauro Camoranesi. Both players were out injured for the majority of the season and played very few games. It was an unworthwile gamble.
Lippi should have invested in young players, such as Lazio Pasquale Foggia, Catania's Guisseppe Mascara, Sampdoria's Gianpaolo Pazzini, and others.
Formation and Creativity
Lippi stuck with the formation that brought him World Cup glory in 2006—the diamond formation, that was used with Germany, was again used in South Africa with few modifications when necessary.
The failure of the diamond system is due to the fact that Italy has lost Francesco Totti, who retired from international duty.
Totti could have been substituted by Antonio Di Natale but the Udinese star is currently injured. While Lippi has opted against selecting Alessandro Del Piero in his squad.
Lippi continued to play using the formation, employing Guisseppe Rossi behind the strikers. Rossi was probably the only good point in this tournament for Italy.
Where is Antonio Cassano?
Okay, he might not be the best-behaving Italian there is, and he is not a player who will bring total rest in the dressing room, but Italy needs Cassano.
He is among very few Italian players who can dribble and add to the creativity of a side that have hardly built proper offensive maneuvers before being ousted.
The Beginning of a New Era
What is needed now is change. Lippi must not bring Del Piero, Filippo Inzaghi, Camoranesi and the old, slow, and jaded Luca Toni to the Italian side. They are all part of the past.
Robert Acquafresca, Mario Balotelli, and Davide Santon, among others, are the future of Italy.
Maybe this failure can be the start of a new dawn for Italy with a new vision and a new project.