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Following their disappointing FIFA World Cup campaign, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has unveiled Cesare Prandelli as the new Azzurri coach ahead of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.
The 52-year-old Prandelli was announced as Marcello Lippi's successor earlier in the summer but now officially takes over in the wake of Italy's exit at the World Cup group stage. "There are no special recipes," said Prandelli, who started his coaching career with Atalanta BC before spells at US Lecce, AC Venezia, Hallas-Verona FC, Parma FC, AS Roma and ACF Fiorentina, where he spent the last five seasons. "I'm looking forward to starting, I know there are problems but also plenty of positives."
"Lippi will always be a world champion," he added. "He leaves a certain kind of mentality and players fully committed to this team, ready to be involved in a new project. I talked to him ahead of the World Cup and told him there will always be a place for him if he changes his mind."
Italy start their campaign to reach Poland and Ukraine against Estonia on 3 September. Group C of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying also contains Serbia, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and Faroe Islands. "Our aim is to have a national team which plays quality football," Prandelli said. "I think there are players who can achieve that goal but a long-term plan is needed.
"I will call up players who are playing well with their respective clubs. Meritocracy is the key. Every player must understand they represent a whole country when they wear the Azzurri shirt. Every coach has a favourite playing system but at the moment I only wish to give players the chance to express themselves in the best possible way."
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