It is always hard to take a winning team and keep on winning, ask Roberto Donadoni.
After Italy's disappointing exit from Euro 2008, the Italian FA did not renew Roberto Donadoni's contract. Instead the FA named the 2006 World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi as new Italy manager.
I have never been a fan of Donadoni. Ever since he took charge of Italy the team lost its spirit and never seemed to be under control of a tactician. He kept many of the same old players, failing to introduce new faces; and the players he introduced to the Azzurri line-up could not fully gel with the rest of the team.
The start of the Euro campaign was humiliating. The World Cup winners lost 3-0 to Netherlands. The second match ended in a 1-1 draw against Romania in a match that Gianluigi Buffon saved a penalty in the last minutes. The third match gave Italy the green light to advance when they defeated the helpless French 2-0 with the first goal coming from a penalty and the second one after De Rossi's free-kick was deflected into the net.
Italy faced Spain in the quarter-finals and lost through penalties after a goalless draw. Spain were much better throughout the match and Italy were lucky that they were not behind at full time.
Not only did his first competition with Italy end in a huge disappointment, but Donadoni's successor is the man who managed the team before Donadoni. It is as if the FA are telling the ex-Italy boss "we made a mistake in hiring you; we'll bring back Lippi again".
Donadoni turned a World Cup-winning team into a team that couldn't compete against teams that were previously never better than Italy. He failed to bring in a new system or new quality players to the Italian squad.
Donadoni could have brought better and younger players like Alessandro Rosina, Gianpaolo Pazzini, Alessandro Gamberini and Pasquale Foggia. They could have been introduced to the Azzurri squad as new blood.
He had Luca Toni as the only pure striker and he never introduced Marco Borriello. Also Donadoni used players that have the same role; he brought Del Piero and Di Natale into the Italy squad, so there was no need to bring Antonio Cassano.
And when Cannavaro was injured, Donadoni could have tried to call-up Alessandro Nesta back to the squad. Instead his team conceded 4 goals in 3 matches while the Italians only conceded 2 goals goal in the World Cup (one of them is an own goal and the other came from a penalty). This shows how great Lippi was!
It is sure good to see Donadoni's back, and I am sure that Lippi is the man for the job.