Italian national team boss Cesare Prandelli has hailed 2012 as an 'important year' and a platform on which to build.
The Azzurri reached the final of the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine in the summer and also went unbeaten in their World Cup qualifying matches.
And the 55-year-old Coach has admitted that the future looks bright for his young team.
“I found a group of young leaders this year,” he told Rai Sport. “They understood that through the game they could transmit a new way of playing football.
“2012 was an important year for us, but there is still room for improvement.”
He also commented on Juventus' bid for a second successive Scudetto as well as Vincenzo Montella's impressive start at Fiorentina.
“Juve have a very impressive team,” he said. “They play with a great pace and are never satisfied – they always know what to do in every situation.
“Montella meanwhile has managed to get Fiorentina playing some quality football, and has also implemented his ideas in a very short space of time.”