Former Juventus boss Antonio Conte is set to take over as manager of the Italian national team, replacing Cesare Prandelli, who stepped away after the World Cup.
Italy confirmed the hire on Thursday via its Twitter account:
Sky Sports News reported on Conte's contract with the team:
BREAKING NEWS: Italy appoint Antonio Conte on as coach on two-year contract.— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) August 14, 2014
James Horncastle shared when Conte would be introduced:
Conte will be unveiled as Italy's new coach in Rome on Tuesday. Press Conference at 11:30 CET.— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) August 14, 2014
The Daily Mail originally reported that the sides reached an agreement after speculation linking him to the job picked up steam following his departure from the Vecchia Signora:
BREAKING: Antonio Conte has reached an agreement to become the new Italy manager (He will be the second highest paid manager in the world)— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) August 14, 2014
Conte, who was a longtime midfielder for Juventus before returning to coach the side, also played for Italy during his career (20 appearances, two goals). Now the Italian Football Federation is hoping he can help revitalize the national team.
He hasn't discussed his situation much since stepping down. The Guardian noted one thing he did mention, which alluded to being able to maintain success with the club. "It may be more difficult to keep winning with Juventus," he said.
Now he'll get a chance to take on a new challenge.
Is Conte the right choice for the Italian national team?
The Azzurri won the World Cup in 2006 but have been knocked out in the group stage in each of the past two FIFA showcases. Their only notable results since that triumph eight years ago were a second-place finish in Euro 2012 and coming in third at last year's Confederations Cup.
Given the amount of talent in the national team pool during those cycles, better results were certainly expected from both the federation and the team's supporters.
So they turn to the 45-year-old boss to bring some of his magic to the equation. He enjoyed immense domestic success with Juventus, highlighted by three straight Serie A titles.
WhoScored passed along an impressive stat to further illustrate the club's dominance during his reign:
Horncastle notes he's expected to assume a hands-on approach with the national team:
Conte to be coach. Not Commissario Tecnico i.e expects to work on a daily basis. Greater collaboration with club. More training camps— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) August 14, 2014
Juventus was filled with members of the Italian national team, so that should make the transition for Conte a bit easier. A key task right away is sorting through which veterans are staying on for another World Cup cycle.
Italy is a side with a lot of experienced players but also a strong pipeline of young talent. Finding the right players to fit his system, which will likely continue to revolve around the 3-5-2 formation, is going to take some time.
Success at the club level doesn't always guarantee similar results at the international level. That said, it's hard to imagine Italy finding a better option for the next four years and potentially beyond.