Italy National Football Team History and Their Magical Playing Style-
|Nickname(s)||Gli Azzurri (The Blues) |
La Squadra Azzurra (The Blue Team)
|Association||Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio|
|Head coach||Cesare Prandelli|
|Most caps||Fabio Cannavaro (136)|
|Top scorer||Luigi Riva (35)|
|Highest FIFA ranking||1 (November 1993 |
April 2007-June 2007)
|Lowest FIFA ranking||16 (April 1998 |
|Highest Elo ranking||1 (June 1934-March 1940 |
December 1940-November 1945
July 2006-August 2006)
|Lowest Elo ranking||21 (November 1959)|
| Italy 6–2 France |
(Milan, Italy; 15 May 1910)
| Italy 9–0 United States |
(Brentford, England; 2 August 1948)
| Hungary 7–1 Italy |
(Budapest, Hungary; 6 April 1924)
|Appearances||17 (First in 1934)|
|Best result||Winners, 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006|
|Appearances||7 (First in 1968)|
|Best result||Winners, 1968|
|Appearances||1 (First in 2009)|
|Best result||Round 1, 2009|
The Italy national football team (Italian: Nazionale di calcio dell'Italia) represents Italy in association football and is controlled by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the governing body for football in Italy. Their head coach is Cesare Prandelli. Italy is the second most successful national team in the history of the World Cup having won four titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), just one fewer than Brazil. To this tally they can add one European championship (1968), one Olympic football tournament (1936) and two Central European International Cups.
The traditional colour of the national team (as well as all Italian national teams and athletes officially representing Italy) is azure blue (azzurro, in Italian), due to the "Azzurro Savoia" (Savoy Blue), the colour traditionally linked to the royal dynasty which unified Italy in 1861, and maintained in the official standard of the Italian President.
World Cup winners for the third time (1978–2004):
The 1978 FIFA World Cup, held in Argentina, saw a new generation of Italian players, the most famous being Paolo Rossi, coming to the international stage. Italy played very well in the first round, being the only team in the tournament to beat the eventual champions and host team Argentina. Second round games against West Germany, Austria and Netherlands led Italy to the third place final, where it was defeated by Brazil 2–1. As in the match against the Netherlands, Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff was beaten by a long-distance shot and thus blamed as the main culprit for the defeat. Italy then hosted the 1980 UEFA European Football Championship, the first edition to be held between eight teams instead of four, and with the host team automatically qualified for the finals.
Italy was beaten by Czechoslovakia in the third place match on penalties.
After a scandal in Serie A where some National Team players such as Paolo Rossi were prosecuted and suspended for match fixing and illegal betting, the Azzurri arrived at the 1982 FIFA World Cup amidst general scepticism and discomfort. Italy qualified for the second round after three uninspiring draws against Poland, Peru and Cameroon. Having been loudly criticized, the Italian team decided on a press black-out from then on, with only coach Enzo Bearzot and captain Dino Zoff appointed to speak to the press.
Italy did not progress beyond the group stage at the finals of Euro 96. Gianfranco Zola failed to convert a decisive penalty against Germany, who eventually won the tournament. Then, during the qualifying campaign for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the Azzurri beat England at Wembley for the second time with Zola scoring the only goal. In the final tournament, Italy found themselves in another critical shootout for the third World Cup in a row. The Italian side, where Del Piero and Baggio renewed the controversial staffetta (relay) between Mazzola and Rivera from 1970, held the eventual World Champions and host team France to a 0–0 draw after extra time in the quarterfinals, but lost 4–3 in the shootout. With two goals scored in this tournament, Roberto Baggio is still the only Italian player to have scored in three different FIFA World Cup editions.
In the Euro 2000, another shootout was this time to favour Italy, in the semifinal against the co-hosts the Netherlands. Italian goalkeeper Francesco Toldo saved one penalty during the match and two in the shootout, while the Dutch players missed one other penalty during the match and one during the shootout with a rate of one penalty scored out of six attempts. Emerging star Francesco Totti scored his penalty with a cucchiaiogolden goal in extra time) after conceding les Bleus' equalizing goal just 30 seconds before the expected end of injury time (94'). After the defeat, coach Dino Zoff resigned in protest after being criticized by MilanSilvio Berlusconi. (spoon) chip. Italy finished the tournament as runners-up, unluckily losing the final 2–1 against France (to a president and politician
In the 2002 World Cup, Italy again had a difficult time. A comfortable 2–0 victory against Ecuador with two Christian Vieri goals was followed by a 2–1 defeat to Croatia. A 1–1 draw with Mexico thanks to a goal from Alessandro Del Piero proved enough to advance to the knockout stages. However, co-host country South Korea knocked out Italy in the Round of 16.
A three-way tie in the group stage of the 2004 European Championship left Italy as the "odd man out", and they failed to qualify for the quarterfinals after finishing behind Denmark and Sweden on the basis of number of goals scored in matches among the tied teams. The winning goal scored during stoppage time against Bulgaria by Antonio Cassano resulted useless, leaving the Italian striker in tears at the end of the game.
World champions for the fourth time (2006 World Cup):
Italy's campaign in the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany was accompanied by open pessimism due to the controversy caused by the 2006 Serie A scandal. These negative predictions were then refuted, as the Azzurri eventually won their fourth World Cup.
Italy won their opening game against Ghana 2-0, with goals from Andrea Pirlo (40') and substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta (83'). The team performance was judged the best among the opening games by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
The second match was a less convincing 1–1 draw with USA, with Alberto Gilardino's diving header equalized by a Cristian Zaccardo own goal. After the equalizer, midfielder Daniele De Rossi and the USA's Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope were sent off, leaving only nine men on the field for nearly the entirety of the second half, but the score remained unchanged despite a controversial decision when Gennaro Gattuso's shot was deflected in but disallowed because of an offside ruling. The same happened at the other end when U.S. winger DaMarcus Beasley's goal was not given due to teammate Brian McBride being ruled offside. De Rossi was suspended for four matches for elbowing McBride in the face and could only return for the final match.
Italy finished first in Group E with a 2–0 win against the Czech Republic, with goals from defender Marco Materazzi (26') and striker Filippo Inzaghi (87'), advancing to the Round of 16 in the knockout stages, where they faced Australia. In this match, Materazzi was controversially sent off early in the second half (53') after an attempted two-footed tackle on Australian midfielder Marco Bresciano. In stoppage time a penalty kick was awarded to the Azzurri when referee Cantalejo ruled that Lucas Neill fouled Fabio Grosso. Francesco Totti converted into an upper corner of the goal past Mark Schwarzer for a 1–0 win.
In the quarterfinals Italy beat Ukraine 3–0. Gianluca Zambrotta opened the scoring early (6') with a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area after a quick exchange with Totti created enough space. Luca Toni added two more goals in the second half (59' and 69'), as Ukraine pressed forward but were not able to score, hitting the crossbar and requiring several saves from Buffon and a goal-line clearance from Zambrotta. Afterwards, manager Marcello Lippi dedicated the victory to former Italian international Gianluca Pessotto, who was in the hospital recovering from an apparent suicide attempt.
In the semi-final, Italy beat host country Germany 2–0 with the two goals coming in the last two minutes of extra time. After an exciting, back-and-forth half hour of extra time during which Gilardino and ZambrottaGrosso scored in the 119th minute after a disguised Pirlo pass found him open in the penalty area for a bending left-footed shot into the far corner past German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann's dive. Substitute striker Alessandro Del Piero then sealed the victory by scoring with the last kick of the game at the end of a swift counterattack by Cannavaro, Totti and Gilardino. struck the post and the crossbar respectively,
The Azzurri won their fourth World Cup, defeating their long-time rivals France in Berlin, on 9 July, 5–3 on penalty kicks after a 1–1 draw at the end of extra time. French captain Zinedine Zidane opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a chipped penalty kick, controversially awarded for a foul by Materazzi. Twelve minutes later, a powerful header by Materazzi from a corner kick by Pirlo brought Italy even. In the second half, a goal by Toni was disallowed for a very close offside call, called by linesman Luc La Rossa. At 110', Zidane was sent off after a head butt, after a verbal exchange with Materazzi; the two players were eventually fined by FIFA for this incident. Italy then won the penalty shootout 5–3, the crucial penalty being David Trézéguet's powerful attempt that hit the crossbar and stayed out. Italy scored all five attempts in a shootout for the first time ever (Pirlo, Materazzi, De Rossi, Del Piero and Grosso). Italy remain the only side to have played in the two World Cup finals that have ended in shootouts; in 1994 and 2006.
Ten different players scored for Italy and five goals out of twelve were scored by substitutes, while four goals were scored by defenders. Seven players — Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Francesco Totti and Luca Toni — were named to the 23-man tournament All Star Team. Buffon also won the Lev Yashin Award, given to the best goalkeeper of the tournament; he conceded only two goals in the tournament, the first an own goal by Zaccardo and the second from Zidane's penalty kick in the final, and remained unbeaten for 460 consecutive minutes. In honour of Italy winning the FIFA World Cup for a fourth time, all of the World Cup Squad were awarded the Italian Order of Merit of Cavaliere Ufficiale.
In Euro 2008, the Azzurri got off to a poor start, losing 0–3 to the Netherlands. The following game against Romania ended with 1–1, with a goal by Christian Panucci that came only a minute after Romania's Adrian Mutu capitalized on a mistake by Gianluca Zambrotta to give Romania the lead. The result was preserved by Gianluigi Buffon who saved a penalty kick from Mutu in the 80th minute.
The final game against France, a rematch of the 2006 World Cup Final, was won with a 2–0 victory. Andrea Pirlo scored from the penalty spot and a free kick by Daniele De Rossi took a wild deflection resulting Italy's second goal. Romania, entering the day a point ahead of the Italians in Group C, lost to the Netherlands 2–0, allowing Italy to pass into the quarterfinals against eventual champion Spain, where they lost 2–4 on penalties. Within a week after the game, Roberto Donadoni's contract was terminated and Marcello Lippi was rehired as coach.
By virtue of winning the World Cup, Italy qualified for the Confederations Cup, held in South Africa in June 2009. They won their opening match, against United States, 3–1, but defeats to Egypt (0–1) and Brazil (0–3) meant that they finished third in the group on goals scored, and were eliminated. In October 2009, Italy qualified for the 2010 World Cup South Africa after drawing with Republic of Ireland 2-2. On 4th December 2009, the draw for the World Cup was made, Italy was in Group F alongside Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Italy were eliminated in the first round, finishing last place in their group. After being held to 1-1 draws by Paraguay and football minnows New Zealand, they lost 3-2 to Slovakia.The results from the group stage sent shock waves across the world. It was the first time Italy failed to win a single game at World Cup finals, and in doing so became the first nation to be eliminated in the first round while holding the World Cup crown twice.
World Cup record-
European Championship record-
- *Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shootout.
- **Gold background color indicates that the tournament was won. Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.
Confederations Cup record-
Cesare Prandelli Era (2010-Present):
Marcello Lippi stepped down after Italy's World Cup campaign and was replaced by Cesare Prandelli, although Lippi's successor had already been announced before the tournament. Italy began their campaign with Prandelli with a disappointing 0-1 loss to Côte d'Ivoire in a friendly match. Then, during the 2012 Euro Qualifier, Italy came back from behind to defeat Estonia 2-1. In the next UEFA Qualifier, Italy dominated the Faroe Islands 5-0. Italy then tied 0-0 with Northern Ireland. Five days later, Italy played Serbia. However, Serbian fans in Stadio Luigi Ferraris, began to riot, throwing flares, and shooting fireworks onto the pitch, subsequently, ending the game. Upon UEFA Disciplinary Review, Italy was awarded a 3-0 Victory. Putting them in pole position of their group.
- This is a list of honours for the senior Italian national team
- FIFA World Cup
- Winner (4): 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006
- Runner-up (2): 1970, 1994
- Third place (1): 1990
- Fourth place (1): 1978
- UEFA European Championship
- Winner (1): 1968
- Runner-up (1): 2000
- Fourth place (1): 1980
- Semi-finals (1): 1988
- Olympic football tournament
- Gold Medal (1): 1936
- Bronze Medal (2): 1928, 2004
- Central European International Cup
- Winner (2): 1927-30, 1933-35
- Runner-up (1): 1931-32
- Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year: 2007
Recent results and forthcoming fixtures-
|3 March 2010||Fontvielle, Monaco||Cameroon||0 – 0||Friendly|
|3 June 2010||Brussels, Belgium||Mexico||1 – 2||Friendly|
|5 June 2010||Geneva, Switzerland||Switzerland||1 – 1||Friendly|
|14 June 2010||Cape Town, South Africa||Paraguay||1 – 1||2010 World Cup|
|20 June 2010||Nelspruit, South Africa||New Zealand||1 – 1||2010 World Cup|
|24 June 2010||Johannesbourg, South Africa||Slovakia||2 – 3||2010 World Cup|
|10 August 2010||London, England||Côte d'Ivoire||0 – 1||Friendly|
|3 September 2010||Tallinn, Estonia||Estonia||2 – 1||Euro 2012 qualifier|
|7 September 2010||Florence, Italy||Faroe Islands||5 – 0||Euro 2012 qualifier|
|8 October 2010||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland||0 – 0||Euro 2012 qualifier|
|12 October 2010||Genoa, Italy||Serbia||3 – 0 (awarded)||Euro 2012 qualifier|
|17 November 2010||Klagenfurt, Austria||Romania||1 – 1||Friendly|
|9 February 2011||Dortmund, Germany||Germany||Friendly|
|25 March 2011||Ljubljana, Slovenia||Slovenia||Euro 2012 qualifier|
|29 March 2011||Ukraine||Ukraine||Friendly|
|3 June 2011||TBA, Italy||Estonia||Euro 2012 qualifier|
|8 June 2011||Buenos Aires, Argentina||Argentina||Friendly|
|11 August 2011||TBA, Italy||Spain||Friendly|
* Italy's scores listed first
Players called up for friendly match against Romania on 17 November 2010.
Caps and goals as of 17 November 2010.
|#||Name||Date of Birth (Age)||Club||Caps (Goals)||Debut|
|1||Emiliano Viviano||1 December 1985 (1985-12-01)||Bologna||4 (0)||v. Faroe Islands, 7 September 2010|
|12||Salvatore Sirigu||12 January 1987 (1987-01-12)||Palermo||2 (0)||v. Côte d'Ivoire, 10 August 2010|
|15||Antonio Mirante||8 July 1983 (1983-07-08)||Parma||0 (0)||N/A|
|2||Davide Santon||2 January 1991 (1991-01-02)||Internazionale||6 (0)||v. Northern Ireland, 6 June 2009|
|3||Domenico Criscito||30 December 1986 (1986-12-30)||Genoa||12 (0)||v. Switzerland, 12 August 2009|
|7||Federico Balzaretti||6 December 1981 (1981-12-06)||Palermo||1 (0)||v. Romania, 17 November 2010|
|13||Daniele Gastaldello||25 June 1983 (1983-06-25)||Sampdoria||0 (0)||N/A|
|16||Mattia Cassani||26 August 1983 (1983-08-26)||Palermo||6 (0)||v. Sweden, 18 November 2009|
|17||Andrea Ranocchia||16 February 1988 (1988-02-16)||Internazionale||1 (0)||v. Romania, 17 November 2010|
|19||Leonardo Bonucci||1 May 1987 (1987-05-01)||Juventus||8 (2)||v. Cameroon, 3 March 2010|
|20||Davide Astori||7 January 1987 (1987-01-07)||Cagliari||0 (0)||N/A|
|4||Cristian Ledesma||24 September 1982 (1982-09-24)||Lazio||1 (0)||v. Romania, 17 November 2010|
|5||Daniele De Rossi||24 July 1983 (1983-07-24)||Roma||62 (10)||v. Norway, 4 September 2004|
|6||Stefano Mauri||20 June 1980 (1980-06-20)||Lazio||9 (0)||v. Finland, 17 November 2004|
|8||Alessandro Diamanti||2 May 1983 (1983-05-02)||Brescia||1 (0)||v. Romania, 17 November 2010|
|14||Alberto Aquilani||7 July 1984 (1984-07-07)||Juventus||12 (2)||v. Turkey, 15 November 2006|
|21||Andrea Pirlocaptain) (||19 May 1979 (1979-05-19)||Milan||72 (9)||v. Azerbaijan, 7 September 2002|
|9||Giampaolo Pazzini||2 August 1984 (1984-08-02)||Sampdoria||14 (1)||v. Montenegro, 28 March 2009|
|10||Mario Balotelli||12 August 1990 (1990-08-12)||Manchester City||2 (0)||v. Côte d'Ivoire, 10 August 2010|
|11||Alberto Gilardino||5 July 1982 (1982-07-05)||Fiorentina||45 (17)||v. Norway, 4 September 2004|
|18||Fabio Quagliarella||31 January 1983 (1983-01-31)||Juventus||25 (6)||v. Scotland, 29 March 2007|
|22||Giuseppe Rossi||1 February 1987 (1987-02-01)||Villarreal||18 (3)||v. Bulgaria, 11 October 2008|
Most capped players-
As of 17 November 2010, the players with the most caps for Italy are:
|7||Alessandro Del Piero||1995–2008||91||27|
Bold denotes still active players.
UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying-
As of 17 November 2010, the players with the most goals for Italy are:
|#||Name||Career||Goals||Caps||Goals per match|
|Alessandro Del Piero||1995–2008||27||91||0.29|
Bold denotes still active players.