When Italy toppled England in their first group match in the World Cup in Brazil last year, they sent a signal to the rest of the World. They made the statement that they were well and truly in the fight. They were there to become the Champions again.
Nine months down the road, here we are feeling pity over the situation of Italian Football.
How unpredictable can the Sports be at times?
The England win that the Azzurri achieved to get started in Brazil, that was followed by a couple of defeats and let alone winning the competition, they had been knocked out before the knockouts.
Something had to give and that happened to be the resignation of Cesare Prandelli.
Prandelli, while leaving, blamed the clubs in the Italian top tier for not working in tandem with the national team management and not cooperating enough. But, at that point of time, it was seen just as a mere excuse from the outgoing manager to hide his failure.
However, the new man Antonio Conte seems to have started feeling the same now. He has had to deal with the reluctance of the clubs to let the players go on national duty that often.
The players get released if a FIFA game is there in the schedule, but, apart from that, there is no allowance from the clubs, not even for short camps and that is becoming a reason of frustration for Conte now.
Also, the clubs have been trying to put him under pressure not to over-train their players. He is being held responsible for the injury sustained by Claudio Marchisio.
Amidst all this, the real loser is the Italian Football. They are not looking anywhere close to being a World Class team. They are yet to win a Euro 2016 qualifying game.
Teams like Bulgaria and Croatia have stopped them on draw and it would not be surprising if they remain winless in the upcoming game against England too. They are just an unsettled unit at the moment.