ROME (AP) — Cesare Prandelli's recent contract extension as Italy coach is a testament to his team philosophy, moral values and winning tactics.
After all, it's not often that the Italian football federation guarantees a future for its coach before a World Cup.
The 56-year-old Prandelli seized upon the opportunity in March by agreeing to another two more years then signed the new deal in late May.
"The people who control the national team are well-meaning people and they have gotten over the obstacle of relying only on results by offering this extension," Prandelli said. "It's gratifying and it fills me with pride."
By the same token, Prandelli has restored pride to Italy's colors since replacing Marcello Lippi after Italy's embarrassing first-round exit from the 2010 World Cup.
He guided Italy to the final of the 2012 European Championship and to third place at last year's Confederations Cup.
If he stays until his contract expires after Euro 2016, Prandelli would become the first Italy coach to last more than five years since Enzo Bearzot, who led the Azzurri from 1975-86 and guided the team to the 1982 World Cup title.
Besides his tactical revolution — bringing the Azzurri into the modern era of attacking football — Prandelli has instilled an unwavering code of ethics to keep players' behavior in check.
A red card or suspension in domestic league play can now mean exclusion from the national team — no matter who the player is. Off-the-field disruptions can also result in missed call ups.
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