Antonio Conte accepts new Italy challenge

Antonio Conte New Italy head coach

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New Italy head coach Antonio Conte admits the national side’s pool of players is not as talented as their rivals but he insisted he is ‘ready for the challenge ahead’.

The former Juventus boss was officially unveiled as Cesare Prandelli’s successor on Tuesday in Rome and the 45-year-old has been handed the task of installing pride back into the Italian team.

The Azzurri endured a disappointing World Cup campaign in Brazil as they were knocked out in the group stages following defeats to Costa Rica and Uruguay.

The only joy was a 2-1 victory over England in the opening game thanks to goals from Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli either side of half-time.

Conte has now been brought in to try and restore a stuttering Italy side after agreeing a two-year contract and the former Juventus boss has said he is ready for the new challenge.

“I want to salute Cesare Prandelli, who was coach for four years and did great work. I wish him good luck at Galatasaray. I also want to thank Arrigo Sacchi for his work with the Italy youth sides these last years,” he said.

“I live to win. I live to search for wins. Other national teams have more talent than us. But playing as a team we can remove this gap. It is a challenge I willingly accept.”

Despite a poor display at the World Cup, Italy are firm favourites at 1.36 to top their UEFA Championship qualifying group where they will face Croatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and the rank outsiders at 2001.00, Malta.

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