On 13 July 2006, the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio ("FICG") announced the hiring of former AC Milan midfielder Roberto Donadoni as manager of the Italian national team. Donadoni replaced outgoing manager Marcello Lippi, who retired immediately after winning the 2006 World Cup.
As a player, Donadoni was very successful, winning six Scudettos and three European Cups with Milan. He retired from playing in 2000 after a season with Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia and quickly turned to management, joining Lecco in 2001. After a brief spell with Genoa (2003) and two separate periods with Livorno (2002-03, 2004-06), he moved up to the national team.
His tenure in charge of the Azzurri was moderately successful, but paled in comparison to Lippi's World Cup-winning reign. His first three matches in charge resulted in two losses and a draw, which prompted Italian journalists to call for the return of Lippi. Italy's only tournament under Donadoni was Euro 2008, in which the Azzurri suffered a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands - their worst defeat in over 25 years.
Despite the loss, Italy advanced to the quarterfinals, where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Spain. After winning the previous World Cup, the elimination was considered a national disappointment. The FICG sacked Donadoni the next month and replaced him with Lippi, who had come out of retirement. Donadoni's brief term resulted in 13 wins and 5 draws out of 23 matches for the national team.
Donadoni moved on to Napoli, but was dismissed on 6 October 2009.