Since Christian Vieri had an injury problem that made him miss the World Cup 2006 call-up, Azzurri head coaches have not found any replacement for him in these last 6 years. That makes Marcelo Lippi, Roberto Donadoni and Prandelli always in dilemma to announce their forward line-ups. It has been proved that since Vieri retired from international football, Azzurri strikers have struggled to score. In World Cup 2006, Lippi did not found a player that could consistently get them goals, but thanks to the superb wall of defence led by Fabio Cannavaro and Buffon they claimed Italy's 4th World Cup trophy anyways.
In Euro 2008, Azzurri were still hoping that their defenders would be their main strength in the competition, even without the injured Fabio Cannavaro. Again Azzurri showed incredible art of defending, but their front line struggled to score, and they lost to Spain in quarter final through a penalty shoot-out. With that result, Roberto Donadoni was sacked and Italy decided to call back their former head coach Marcelo Lippi to prepare for World Cup 2010, hoping to defend their title.
While in 2010 World Cup, Italy had their most shameful exit, it was a time to forget. Fans were furious and wondered"Where are the big name stars that Italy always produce?". The only one left in the attack is just a big nose named Iaquinta, who struggled to put ball in the net. And with the new faces in defence, the defending champions packed their bags early after finishing bottom in one of the easiest groups in that World Cup. "It was the darkest and most terrible day in the history of Italian football." said La Gazzetta's editorial. Lippi made way for Cesare Prandelli.
And even now, Prandelli still has the same problem like Lippi and Donadoni. Even though there are a lot of choices in attack, Prandelli is struggling to find the right person to be the next Christian Vieri. There are Italian Strikers that have some potential to be the main finisher for Italy, but among these can anyone be Vieri's Successor?
25 years old Rossi is the best striker for Azzurri at the moment but lacks consistency at both Villarreal and the Italy squad. With his recent injury problem, he is ruled out for Euro 2012.
Pazzini was once said to be the next Vieri when he was still young but his recent performances with Inter are so frustrating. Despite been given a lot of chances to play, the 27 year old Pazzini still cannot produce what he is expected to do.
So far the most consistent and successful Italian striker playing at club level, but yet to find his good movement in Azzurri's squad. 21 year old Balotelli is still young and fans expect to see a lot more from him in the future, if his temperament does not let him down.
27 year old Matri still lacks of consistency at both club and international level.
Great performance in Serie A with Roma, but 26 years old Osvaldo did not impress his Italy's head coach when playing with the National team.
One of the finest young strikers in Serie A and said to be the future of Italy, but the 21 year old Borini still hasn't proved anything at International level.
Showed class for his club this season, and for the Italy under 21 squad. 21 year old Destro is now ready to make his senior debut in Euro 2012.
22 years old Paloschi once dubbed to be the next Pippo Inzaghi but until now, he hasn't proved to be Inzaghi's apprentice. Inconsistent performances in the domestic league has not helped to get him into the National team.
People did not expect much with this 20 year old lad Macheda as his performances with his club have been very frustrating, made worse by his injury problems. No goals in last 2 seasons on loan with Sampdoria and QPR has not helped.
This young 17 years old Tassi is the hot prospect for Italy who is said to be the new Roberto Baggio. But, it is still too early to rate his performances at International level as he still only plays for the U17 level.
So, who will be the next Vieri for Azzurri? Can Prandelli find his best man in attack? It all can be seen in Euro 2012 next month and there must be only one among these players to wear the most important "Number 9" shirt in Italy. In order to succeed in this coming Euro Cup competition, Prandelli has to choose wisely who is his best scoring machine like Christian Vieri, Filippo Inzaghi, Roberto Baggio, and Del Piero in earlier times.