The President of the Italian Football Federation Giancarlo Abete believes Marcello Lippi is "the right man for the World Cup" and explained why he decided to part company with Roberto Donadoni.
Lippi makes his second debut against Austria in France on August 20, but there are more prestigious ties lined up, including a February test against Brazil to be played in England and the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa next summer.
"I thank Donadoni and underline his personal and professional qualities," Abete said at the press conference yesterday. "Lippi is the right man to lead us into the 2010 World Cup in South Africa."
There is controversy over how the changeover occurred, as Donadoni said he lost his job because of "one penalty" in the quarter-final shoot-out against Spain.
Had Italy gone past the quarter-final stage in Euro 2008, his contract would not have been valid for termination by mutual consent.
"There is a rapport of reciprocal loyalty with Donadoni. On May 20 there was an extension with a rescission clause worth £700,000.
"On May 22 he told me he wanted to scrap that clause and go back to the original plan, which was an automatic renewal until 2010 if he reached the semi-final of the European Championship.
"There were no other pre-planned situations and we did not have any contracts with anyone else. That one penalty would have sparked an automatic process, but as it did not then we had to make a technical choice. There was no sacking."
Lippi was rumoured in the media to be ready to take over for several weeks and the coach himself confirmed there was a plan of sorts in place before Euro 2008 began.
"I told the Federation before the tournament that I and everyone else would be cheering on the Azzurri, hoping we went as far as possible with Donadoni," explained the 2006 World Cup winner.
"But if the European Championships did not go well, I would be ready to take over. You can say whether that was the right or the wrong way of approaching it.
"Someone wrote I already signed a contract and would have to pay a penalty if Italy reached certain results and kept Donadoni on the bench. In fact, I have still not put pen to paper, nor have we discussed financial remuneration."
The 60-year old is making changes to the backroom staff and turning back the clock to 2006, albeit with a few necessary adjustments.
"I asked the President if I could work with the same people I had done in the past, plus Angelo Peruzzi."
The now retired goalkeeper was the third choice at the World Cup and considered a key figure behind the scenes in maintaining team spirit, but will now have a more official role.
"He will now study for his coaching certificate at Coverciano so that he can become part of the Federation staff.
"As for Ciro Ferrara, he works for Juventus and when there is an international game he comes to work for us, much like several of our fitness coaches."
Source: C4 Football Italia