Antonio Conte handed Italy reins for Euro 2016 campaign
Former Juventus boss Antonio Conte has been named as new Italy national manager, following the resignation of Cesare Prandelli after the World Cup.
The 45-year-old, who earned 20 caps for the Azzurri during his playing career, has reportedly agreed a two-year contract worth around €3m per year. Only compatriot Fabio Capello, who is head coach of Russia, is believed to earn more in international management.
Conte steered Juve to three consecutive Serie A titles before quitting the Turin giants during pre-season. Speculation was rife that he would take the vacant Italy post, but former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, last at Galatasaray, was also linked with the role.
Representing Italy both at the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000, Conte was otherwise peripheral to the national set-up. Now, he will be charged with guiding the Azzurri through qualification for the next European Championship, which is to be held in France in two years” time.
Predecessor Prandelli has fallen on his feet by taking over from Mancini at Turkish giants Galatasaray. Conte, meanwhile, has been succeed at Juventus by former AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri.
During his successful stint at the Old Lady, the former Juve captain regularly used a 3-5-2 formation. Several names from that club, including Italy skipper Gianluigi Buffon, remain in the international fold.
The Azzurri made a shock group stage exit at the recent World Cup in Brazil. Prandelli’s pragmatic team finished third in a pool which contained surprise package Costa Rica and controversial Copa America holders Uruguay. Italy did at least beat England in Group D, though.
Conte will be looking to do far better than that at Euro 2016. He is odds-on at 2/5 to top the Azzurri’s qualification pool, which also includes Croatia, and an 11/1 shot to win the tournament outright.