Azzurri have already secured their place in Brazil next summer.
A quick glance at the list of favourites to lift the World Cup next summer will bring up some familiar names. Hosts Brazil lead the way, and are swiftly followed by the likes of Argentina, Spain and Germany.
Yet despite their run to the final at Euro 2012 and the impressive showing in the Confederations Cup this summer, Italy remain somewhat of an outsider to clinch their fifth World Cup.
The journey in Brazil will be their 18th World Cup campaign, the 14th in a row as they have continuously confirmed themselves as a stalwart on the international stage.
While some tournaments have brought greater levels of success than others, their development under Cesare Prandelli has ultimately led to them preparing for Brazil, with speculation suggesting that it will be the former Fiorentina coach’s last competition in charge.
In the aftermath of South Africa three years ago, Prandelli arrived with a vision for the Azzurri, one that would be built on youth and a more expansive style of football.
Predictably, qualification for next summer has been far from easy, yet despite their struggles Italy have successfully managed to qualify with two games to spare.
So, just how realistic are hopes of another World Cup triumph? Prandelli has maintained that his side are not the strongest team in the world, but their greatest strength is their ability to identify their qualities and make the most of them.
While the defence is not what many come to expect when discussing a nation that has produced some of the finest defensive talents in the history of the game, the midfield trio of Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo can be both combative or creative depending on what the situation dictates.
Perhaps their biggest strength though, lies further up the pitch where Mario Balotelli will look to continue to establish himself as one of the world’s best.
The 23-year-old’s penalty against the Czech Republic on Tuesday night was his 10th goal in his last 16 international matches, and ultimately secured qualification. With Prandelli placing his faith in the AC Milan striker since the day he was appointed, it appears that “Super Mario” is ready to continue to repay him.
There are still various issues for Prandelli to consider, namely his preferred system and personnel in specific positions. The Italian tactician has switched to a three-man defence on occasion, while also sacrificing attacking threat for tactically astute players who can offer something defensively too.
With Giuseppe Rossi returning to fitness and goal-scoring form in Florence, Prandelli could well have his ideal partner for Balotelli come next summer. Nevertheless, judging on their achievements thus far under the 56-year-old, fitness permitting Italy are certainly not one to be written off when they arrive in Brazil in nine months time.