It took two years and some underwhelming results in the Euros, but the man should've stayed coach all along is back in charge of the Azzuri. I understand why Marcello Lippi left the national team after the World Cup. How do you top winning the biggest prize in the world? And I'm sure he needed to recharge the batteries. While national team coaches coach less games than club coaches each game is more important and going through the World Cup campaign must be like going through 3-5 club seasons.
I'm not going to take the time to criticize Donadoni. I don't think he was ready and he was handed a tough situation -- win and Lippi is credited for handing him the keys to a Ferrari, lose and he's mocked for wrecking that Ferrari.
The truth is Donadoni didn't have the experience and was charged with making very difficult decisions that would be a tough choice for anyone, except one man, to make. Coming off a World Cup victory nobody wanted that team broken up and while it may've been Donadoni's job, it would be perceived as not his right to do so.
Who can argue after the performances this month that Matrix and Ambrosini need to go? Who can't see that Nesta is necessary -- two world-class CBs (Cannavaro and Chiellini) are great, but if one goes down a third would be great. If all three are available it also allows Chiellini to move back to LB. Still while these decisions may be obvious, it is much easier to swallow the drops if they come from Lippi. It also may be easier to bring Nesta back if it's Lippi.
Do I think Lippi is a miracle-worker? No, but I don't think a miracle is needed. Italy showed flashes of its 2006 performances, but they were just that. The architect of that team may not have been able to get past Spain, but he may not have needed to until the semi-finals. He also would've brought Del Piero on much sooner and wouldn't have played so negatively.
New players will be needed and some veterans will be dropped. Styles may need to change, but Lippi can do this. Along with Cappello, Wenger and Fergie, he is the best in the world at getting the most out of a team. He will do so again in 2010. Italy may not win, but they won't underachieve and that is all that I ask.