Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Frank Tigani On April - 17 - 2011

Italy’s La Nazionale Back in FIFA Top Ten

It is incredible to think that Italy, World Champions five years ago, were ever ranked outside of the top ten in the FIFA rankings. But, such had been their fall from the summit of world football that started after their horrid display in South Africa, that the Italian National team found themselves in sixteenth position last November behind the likes of Slovenia, Norway, Egypt and Greece.

However, with guidance of new boss Cesare Prandelli, La Nazionale have slowly but surely improved and this was evident in the Azzurri’s round of recent International matches, a year out from their dreadful World Cup performance.

Recording two wins, one coming against Slovenia in a European qualifier, the other against Ukraine in what was a friendly match, helped to propel the team back into the spotlight of national pride.

Italy’s victories were not entirely comprehensive, but the team did show traits that have long characterised tested Italian sides of the past with strong defensive play at the back and a well organised structure throughout their contests.

Though the side is still in need of a player that can provide the spark in the attacking third, chances created through the likes of Giuseppe Rossi, Antonio Cassano and Riccardo Montolivo provided the required goals.

Back to Reality

The current Azzurri may still be some distance away from what we have come to expect from Italian national teams, but a return to the top ten in the world is significant as it marks the end to a dreadful period and the start of a more fruitful one.

There are still major issues that need addressing within the side. Who the two centre halves should be is one such issue. Another is who can, rather than should, be the side’s trequartista, the traditional creative force in attack.

Manager Prandelli has effectively gone about his task in resolving the issues best he can and building a team strong enough to take back its place among the top dogs of international football.  Qualification for next year’s European Championship is the next step and only seems a matter of time given Italy’s impressive record so far in qualifying.

Of course, the real test awaits the Azzurri at the European finals next summer in Ukraine and Poland.

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