Italian national team manager Cesare Prandelli has said that he is expecting more from the national team in the future, but he is confident that they can become a truly great team. Italy were often criticised in recent years for having several older players in the team.
Immediately after taking over, Prandelli has been working towards reducing the age of the national squad. Through the introduction of players like Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy, Italy now boasts of a lot of young talent. As a result, there have been inconsistencies in their game in recent months.
However, they are close to securing their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil after managing a comfortable 2-0 win over Malta in the latest World Cup qualifying match. Italy were coming into the encounter on the back of three consecutive matches without a victory.
However, this did not affect their record in the qualifying campaign because they were all friendly matches. After the Malta match, Italy have just one World Cup qualifying match – against Czech Republic – before they enter into the Confederations cup.
Prandelli has said that space was one of the major constraints in the match against Malta. He has pointed out to the Brazil match as one of the examples of how Italy can play if they have space.
“In all honesty, I expected more. This situation has been happening for many years, as you lay down all the groundwork and then in the match itself the outcome is different. You lower the tempo, things don’t work, although Malta did twice change their approach. In those occasions we have to better at breaking down teams that are so closed up and especially speed up the pace of passing," said Prandelli. Italy have friendly matches against San Marino and Haiti before the Confederations cup.