Soccer: Prandelli's Italy revolution set to continue
Euro 2012 successful despite 4-0 drubbing from Spain in final02 July, 17:06
This is especially true when you consider that Prandelli had to rebuild the national team after their dismal showing at the 2010 World Cup under Marcello Lippi.
And they were not considered to be among the favourites going into the tournament in Ukraine and Poland after losing all three of their friendlies before it, including a 3-0 defeat to Russia days before it started.
Their preparations were unsettled by a big match-fixing scandal that forced Prandelli to drop defender Domenico Criscito on the day before the deadline to announce his squad.
Aside from the results, which included a memorable 2-1 victory over Germany in the semi-finals, what was most pleasing about the Azzurri's showing was the way in which they were achieved.
Prandelli has adopted an attractive, attacking style that is very different to the traditional Italian approach.
The final in Kiev, where his fatigued side were given a soccer lesson by world champions and holders Spain, shows there is still work to do.
But Prandelli wants to stay to complete the job after starting a revolution that has fans looking forward to more.
has. 'The European championships have been extraordinary, getting to the final was unthinkable (before the tournament),' said former Fiorentina boss Prandelli, who had suggested last week that he might leave the national team after the European championships because he missed the day-to-day contact with soccer that a club coach has. 'The project will keep going. We mustn't stop. I had moments when I had certain thoughts (about leaving) but my relationship with the (Italian Soccer) Federation has always been excellent. 'This defeat is also a factor in my decision. I can't leave like this'.
In addition to his courage and football savvy, the coach has also been praised for his gentlemanly style and his handling of the two talented mavericks in his squad, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli.
Prandelli has tried to act like a father figure to 21-year-old Balotelli, who has been dropped in the past following disciplinary problems but continues to give him support and understanding. He stuck by the Manchester City forward, for example, when he missed a number of chances in the quarter-final against England and was rewarded by Balotelli scoring the double against Germany that booked Italy's place in the final.
'This defeat does not detract from the merits of Prandelli and his players, who played an exhilarating European championships,' wrote former Italy goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani in La Gazzetta dello Sport.
'We shouldn't forget where we started out from. The national team played football that excited people and gave them enjoyment, showing that Italian football is not just about crises, it is also developing on a technical level".
Prandelli compared the state of the country as a whole with his national team. Italy is currently being governed by an emergency government of non-political technocrats who are trying to haul it out of the centre of the eurozone crisis and introduce reforms to revitalise the economy and reduce rampant youth unemployment. 'We are an old country with lots of things that need changing,' the coach told a press conference the day after his men lost 4-0 to Spain. 'We came to the European championships to change, to pursue an idea (of how to play soccer) without being conditioned by results'. 'Winning the European championships would have done us good, but it would also have taken away some people's (sense of) balance.
'We aren't ready to win yet, but when we are, we'll win again and again, without ups and downs and problems'.
But while Prandelli is planning to keeping rejuvenating the Azzurri there is one veteran he is hoping to hold on to - Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
'I hope he plays for two more years,' Prandelli told a press conference when asked to comment on speculation that the playmaker might quit the national team. 'He has the capacity and strength too and I think he has the desire too'.