Former Juventus manager Antonio Conte has been confirmed as the new Italy head coach on a two-year contract. The 45-year-old resigned as Juventus coach last month after leading the Italian giants to three successive Serie A titles.
Conte succeeds Cesare Prandelli as the manager of the four-time world champions. Prandelli quit the role following Italy’s exit at the group stages of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, where they were beaten to qualification for the last 16 by Costa Rica and Uruguay. Prandelli had been at the helm since 2010 and led Italy to the final of Euro 2012, where they were comfortably beaten 4-0 by an impressive Spain side.
Conte, who has also managed Atalanta and Siena in his career, is a former Italy international and takes on the job after a hugely successful spell in Turin. After returning to the club that he spent a majority of his playing career at as coach in 2011, he led Juventus to the Serie A title at the first attempt, as they also went unbeaten throughout the season.
Two more league titles followed for Juventus under Conte in 2013 and 2014 as they dominated Italy’s top division. His first game in charge of the national team will be a friendly against World Cup semi-finalists Holland in early September.
Conte’s first major task will be to guide Italy to the 2016 European Championships. The Azzurri have been drawn in Group H for the qualifying campaign and will be looking to qualify as group winners after being drawn with Croatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Malta.
Their opening qualifying fixture away to Norway will be Conte’s first competitive game in charge. 2016 will mark ten years since Italy won the 2006 World Cup in Germany – their last major trophy win on the international stage. Conte will be hoping to lead them to their first European Championships triumph since 1968.