Ahead of them, Italy desperately needs a trequartista. Not Thiago Motta, not Riccardo Montolivo, but an actual trequartista. Neither have the tools necessary to change the course of a game, which is the key ingredient necessary from a true Italian No.10. There is a huge dearth of talent in this department, with Diego Fabbrini and Lorenzo Insigne – the best creative players to come through the Under-21 ranks of late – having often been shunted to the left for the Azzurrini.
Insigne should be nursed through in a similar fashion to Verratti, giving him every possible opportunity to make a smooth transition to the senior side, with Fabbrini a back-up if his game time at Udinese increases sufficiently over the next two years.
All in all, Prandelli has plenty to ponder, but also more than enough to keep him smiling. While he will not have any Del Pieros, Baggios and Tottis to choose between, he has a wide enough panel to suggest that the achievements in Poland and Ukraine can at least be matched.
So have a couple of down days, Italy. But then stick out your chests and show your pride once more. If La Nazionale play their cards right, it could be a feeling you will get used to all over again before long.
Cities & Stadiums
The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments
|2008||Spain||Germany||Russia / Turkey|
|2004||Greece||Portugal||Netherlands / Czech Republic|
|2000||France||Italy||Netherlands / Portugal|
|1996||Germany||Czech Republic||France / England|
|1992||Denmark||Germany||Netherlands / Sweden|
|1988||Netherlands||Soviet Union||Italy / West Germany|
|1984||France||Spain||Denmark / Portugal|
|1972||West Germany||Soviet Union||Belgium|