Claudio Gentile, who coached Italy to victory in the 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, has been replaced at the helm by Pierluigi Casiraghi.
The Italian Football Federation has decided not to renew Gentile's contract nearly six years after he succeeded Marco Tardelli. In that time he led Italy to three U21 final tournaments, including May's finals in Portugal where the Azzurrini fell at the first hurdle. Casiraghi, 37, will take charge for the first time in a friendly against Croatia in Grosseto on 15 August. Italy then face Iceland and Austria in Group 5 as they attempt to qualify for the 2007 finals in the Netherlands.
Rocca and Zola assist
Twice a UEFA Cup winner with Juve, Casiraghi won 44 caps and scored 13 goals for Italy. He coached the youth teams at his first club, Monza Calcio, before being appointed by Serie C2 side AC Legnano in 2003. His assistant will be Antonio Rocca, who has previously led Italy's U16 and U17 squads, while Casiraghi's former Chelsea team-mate Gianfranco Zola will form part of the technical staff.