Italy coach Cesare Prandelli can now turn his full attention to matters on the field after putting pen to paper on a two-year contract extension ahead of his team's 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ campaign this summer. The 56-year-old, who revealed last month that he had struck an agreement with the Italian Football Federation to remain in charge until after the 2016 UEFA EURO, needed to iron out details in his new deal - specifically about his image rights - and finally did so on Monday.
"The agreement was already in place two months ago but we needed this time to formulate the contract," Prandelli said in Monday's press conference. "The federation wanted to include my image rights and this was the reason for the delay in signing the contract."
Prandelli has yet to make a decision on the 23-man squad he will take to Brazil, where Italy will face England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D. The Azzurri's first game will be against Roy Hodgson's England on 14 June in Manaus.
"I have to wait and see as the next four days will be important to understand which players will be able to manage the workload and then we will have the friendly against Ireland (next Saturday)," he said. "After that game, we will choose the 23 players."
Prandelli reiterated on Monday the team's need to be in top condition before they start their campaign in Brazil. But he also stressed that Italy will have to be flexible in their tactical approach. "From an athletic standpoint, you have to be ready to take the players to an optimum condition level, then we need to put out a team that is able in a fast way to put our rivals in difficulty," Prandelli said.
"It will be hard to see a team that will start and finish a game with the same formation. We have to be ready to be flexible. Hence, if we have a problem, we adapt but that change should not be a negative - it should be something that adds value to the team.
"We've already had an important week of work and they have all responded brilliantly. I would say that all of them are well, even though some have suffered through the workload. We have to be able to manage fatigue both physically and mentally."
One player in the spotlight is Giuseppe Rossi, the Fiorentina striker who recently returned from a right knee injury that had sidelined him for four months. Rossi is among the 30 players who have been training in Italy's headquarters in Coverciano, Florence, since last week. "I have seen in Rossi a player that is making great sacrifices and that is dreaming with his eyes open," Prandelli said. "This is a message for all the players in the squad."