The 4 time World Champions learned their hardest lesson yet when a mixture of poor coaching decisions, old age and out of form players saw their 2010 campaign end in disaster as they exited the tournament bottom of their group and with just two points.
What’s even more shocking is the fact that the unfancied All Whites of New Zealand had a much better tournament than the defending Champions. Existing the tournament in the group stages, New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert is definitely a proud man.
Drawing all their three games and against very formidable opposition in the form of Paraguay, Italy and Slovakia, New Zealand will forever be remembered as the nation that denied Italy a chance to defend its title.
Their 1-1 draw 5 days ago spurred belief in a Slovakia side (ahead of last night’s game) that is only making its debut in football’s biggest stage, the World Cup. As the country’s most iconic players prepare to exit the scene, a new breed of stars is taking over.
Montolivo, Pazzini, Marchisio, Criscito, Chiellini Marchetti and Guiseppe Rossi are the player who have the huge task of returning Italy to the the status it enjoyed 4 years ago.
Not only are these players talented, they are also young and as agile as ever. With Euro 2012 just 24 months away, now would be the perfect time for who their new coach (whoever it will be) to build a formidable side not only for Europe’s senior national football competition but also Brazil 2014.
With many coaches now opting for younger, youthful players in their squad’s, Italy will definitely have to break with tradition if they are keen on winning in tournaments of such great stature.
So to Cannavaro and company, i wish them the best of luck and great success in their club careers.
Photo credit: from WorldCupSouthAfrica