Italy national football team

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This article is about the men's team. For the women's team, see Italy women's national football team.
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Gli Azzurri
(The Blues)
Association Italian Football Federation
Confederation UEFA
Head coach Antonio Conte
Captain Gianluigi Buffon
Most caps Gianluigi Buffon (145)
Top scorer Luigi Riva (35)
FIFA ranking 11 Increase 2 (24 October 2014)
Highest FIFA ranking 1 (November 1993, February 2007, April–June 2007, September 2007)
Lowest FIFA ranking 16 (April 1998, October 2010)
Elo ranking 14 (9 July 2014)
Highest Elo ranking 1 (June 1934 – March 1940, December 1940 – November 1945, July–August 2006)
Lowest Elo ranking 21 (November 1959)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Italy 6–2 France 
(Milan, Italy; 15 May 1910)
Biggest win
 Italy 9–0 United States 
(Brentford, England; 2 August 1948)
Biggest defeat
 Hungary 7–1 Italy 
(Budapest, Hungary; 6 April 1924)
World Cup
Appearances 18 (First in 1934)
Best result Champions, 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006
European Championship
Appearances 8 (First in 1968)
Best result Champions, 1968
Confederations Cup
Appearances 2 (First in 2009)
Best result Third place, 2013

The Italian national football team (Italian: Nazionale italiana di calcio) represents Italy in association football and is controlled by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the governing body for football in Italy. Italy is one of the most successful national teams in the history of the World Cup, having won 4 titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) and appearing in two finals (1970, 1994), reaching a third place (1990) and a fourth place (1978). They have also won a European championship (1968), as well as appearing in two other finals (2000, 2012), one Olympic football tournament (1936) and two Central European International Cups. Italy's highest finish at the Confederations Cup was in 2013, when the squad achieved a third place finish.

The national football team is known as Gli Azzurri from the traditional color of Italian national teams and athletes representing Italy. In its first two matches, the Italian national team wore white shirts with shorts from the club of each player; the azure shirts were introduced in the third match; (azzurro, in Italian) comes from 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.

The primary training ground is at the FIGC headquarters in Coverciano, Florence and the team plays their home matches at various stadiums throughout Italy.


Origins and first two World Cups (1910–1938)[edit]

The team's first match was held in Milan on 15 May 1910, Italy defeated France by a score of 6–2.[1] Some turmoil kept the players of Pro Vercelli who were the best team of the league, out of the game. At the end of the match, the players received some cigarette packets thrown by the 4,000 spectators as a prize.[2] The Italian team played with a (2–3–5) system and consisted of: De Simoni; Varisco, Calì; Trerè, Fossati, Capello; Debernardi, Rizzi, Cevenini I, Lana, Boiocchi. First captain of the team was Francesco Calì.[3]

The first success in an official tournament came with the bronze medal in 1928 Summer Olympics, held in Amsterdam. After losing the semi-final against Uruguay, an 11–3 victory against Egypt secured third place in the competition.

After declining to participate in the first World Cup (1930, in Uruguay) the Italian national team won two consecutive editions of the tournament in 1934 and 1938, under the direction of coach Vittorio Pozzo and thanks to the genius of Giuseppe Meazza, who is considered one of the best Italian football players of all time. Other stars of that era included Luis Monti, Giovanni Ferrari, Giuseppe Ruffino and Virginio Rosetta the host Azzurri defeated Czechoslovakia 2–1 in Rome, with goals by Raimundo Orsi and Angelo Schiavio.

Post-World War II (1946–1966)[edit]

The deaths in 1949 of the players of Torino (the winners of the previous five Serie A titles) in the Superga air disaster saw the loss of ten out of the eleven constituting the initial line-up for the national team. The following year, Italy did not advance further than the first round of the 1950 World Cup, partly due to the long and physically demanding boat trip to Brazil (air travel was discarded due to fear of another accident).

In the World Cup finals of 1954 and the 1962 that followed, Italy failed to progress past the first round, and did not qualify for the 1958 World Cup. During the early 1960s, while the Italian football clubs Milan and Internazionale dominated the international scene, the National team was not able to match these results. Italy did not take part in the first edition of the European Championship in 1960 (then known as the European Nations Cup), and was knocked out by the USSR in the round of 16 (second round) of the 1964 European Championship.

Their participation in the 1966 World Cup is always remembered for their 0–1 defeat at the hands of North Korea. Despite being the tournament favourites, the Azzurri, whose 1966 squad included Rivera and Bulgarelli, were eliminated in the first round by the semi-professional North Koreans and bitterly condemned upon their return home, while North Korean scorer Pak Doo-Ik was celebrated as the David who killed Goliath.[4]

European champions and World Cup runners-up (1968–1976)[edit]

In 1968, the Azzurri won their first major competition since the 1938 World Cup, beating Yugoslavia in Rome for the European Championship title. The match holds the distinction of being the only major football tournament final to go to a replay. After extra time it ended in a 1–1 draw, and in the days before penalty shootouts, the rules required the match to be replayed a few days later. Italy won the replay 2–0 (with goals from Riva and Anastasi) to take the trophy.

In 1970, Italian team was one of the favourites for the title. Exploiting the performances of European champions' players like Giacinto Facchetti, Rivera and Riva and with a new center-forward Roberto Boninsegna, the Azzurri were able to came back to a world cup final match after 32 years of desolation. They reached this result after one of the most famous match in football history: Italy vs. West Germany 4–3, which is known as the "Game of the Century". Although they were defeated by the amazing Brazilians, the 1970 team is still recognized as one of the best Italian national teams. The "Mexican generation" ended its cycle of international successes in the 1974 World cup, being eliminated by Lato's Polish team in the first round.

Bearzot Era and the third World Cup (1978–1986)[edit]

Italy's line up, before the match against France in a group stage game at the 1978 FIFA World Cup at Estadio José María Minella (Mar del Plata, Argentina – 2 June 1978).
Italy's starting line-up, before the match against Argentina in a group stage game at the 1982 FIFA World Cup

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 (0–0), Austria (1–0) and Netherlands (1–2) 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 two draws with Spain and Belgium and a narrow 1–0 win over England.

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's strength finally showed in the second round group, a true Group of death with Argentina and Brazil – the defending champions and the team favoured to dethrone them. In the opener, Italy prevailed 2–1 over Diego Maradona's side after an ill-tempered battle in which Italy's defenders and midfielders proved their mastery in the rougher side of the game. Italy's goals, both left-footed strikes, were scored by Marco Tardelli and Antonio Cabrini. After Brazil defeated Argentina 3–1, Italy needed to win in order to advance to the semi-finals. Twice Italy went in the lead with Paolo Rossi goals, and twice Brazil came back. When Paulo Roberto Falcão scored to make it 2–2 Brazil would have been through on goal difference; but in the 74th minute Rossi scored the winning goal in a crowded penalty area to send Italy to the semifinals after one of the all-time greatest games in World Cup history.[5] In the wake of its second round performance, Italy easily dispatched Poland in the first semi-final with another two goals from Rossi.

In the final match, Italy met West Germany, who had advanced thanks to a penalty shootout victory against France. The first half ended scoreless, after Cabrini missed a penalty awarded for a Hans-Peter Briegel foul on Bruno Conti. In the second half Paolo Rossi again scored the first goal, and while the Germans were pushing forward in search of an equaliser, Tardelli and substitute Alessandro Altobelli finalised two contropiede counterattacks to make it 3–0. Paul Breitner scored home West Germany's consolation goal seven minutes from the end, making him the second man after Pelé to score in two non-consecutives World Cup finals.

Tardelli's scream after his goal in the final is still remembered as the symbol of Italy's 1982 World Cup triumph. Paolo Rossi won the Golden Boot with six goals, and 40-year-old captain-goalkeeper Dino Zoff became the oldest-ever player to win the World Cup.

For twenty-four years following the 1982 triumph, the Azzurri figured prominently on the world stage but did not win another tournament. Italy failed to qualify for the 1984 European Championship and were knocked out in the Round of 16 of the 1986 FIFA World Cup by France 2–0.

World Cup and European Championship runners-up (1988–2004)[edit]

1988 saw them reach the semi-finals of the European Championship, where they were defeated 2–0 by the USSR. It was the same year in which they lost to Zambia in the Olympic games.

Italy hosted the World Cup for the second time in 1990. The Italian attack featured talented forwards Salvatore Schillaci and a young Roberto Baggio. Despite being favourites[6] to win and not conceding a goal in their first five matches, Italy lost in the semi-final to defending champion Argentina, losing 4–3 on penalty kicks following a 1–1 draw after extra time, Schillaci's first half opener having been equalised in the second half by Claudio Caniggia's header for Argentina. Aldo Serena missed the final penalty kick (with Roberto Donadoni also having his penalty saved by goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea). Italy went on to defeat England 2–1 in the third place match, with Schillaci scoring the winning goal on a penalty to become the tournament's top scorer with 6 goals. Italy then failed to qualify for the 1992 European Championship.

In the 1994 World Cup, Italy started very slowly but reached the final. They lost the opening match against Ireland 0–1, this being the only match Italy would lose (not counting games lost after shootout) over the span of three World Cup finals from 1990 to 1998 and one only of five games they have lost in regular time since 1988 in either a Euro or World Cup (losing 2–1 to Czech Republic in the first round of Euro 1996 is the second one, losing 2–1 to Croatia in the first round of 2002 World Cup is the third one, losing 3–0 to the Netherlands in the Euro 2008 opener is the fourth, and the 3–2 to Slovakia in the last match of the first round of 2010 World Cup is now the fifth). After a gritty 1–0 win against Norway and a 1–1 draw with Mexico, Italy advanced from Group E based on goals scored among the four teams tied on points. In the Round of 16, Italy was down 0–1 late against Nigeria, but Roberto Baggio came to the rescue with a splended equaliser in the 88th minute and a penalty in extra time to snatch the win.[7] Baggio scored another late goal against Spain in the quarter-final to seal a 2–1 win and two beautifully taken goals against Bulgaria in the semi-final for another 2–1 win.[8][9] In the final, Italy and Brazil played 120 minutes of scoreless football, taking the match to a penalty shootout. Italy lost the subsequent shootout 3–2 after Baggio, who had been playing with the aid of a pain-killing injection and a heavily bandaged hamstring, missed the final penalty kick of the match, shooting over the crossbar.[10]

Italy did not progress beyond the group stage at the finals of Euro 96. Having defeated Russia 2–1 but lost to the Czech Republic by the same score, Italy required a win to be sure of progressing. Gianfranco Zola failed to convert a decisive penalty in a 0–0 draw against Germany, who eventually won the tournament [playing in the finals repeat of the group stage opening game between Germany and Czech Republic]. 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 decided Italy's fate but this time in their favour when defeating the co-hosts the Netherlands in the semi-final. 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 cucchiaio (spoon) chip. Italy finished the tournament as runners-up, unluckily losing the final 2–1 against France (to a golden 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 Milan president and politician Silvio Berlusconi.

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 series of controversial matches. During the match against Croatia, two goals were disallowed resulting in a 2:1 defeat for Italy. Despite two goals being ruled for offside, a goal from Alessandro Del Piero help Italy to a 1–1 draw with Mexico proving enough to advance to the knockout stages. However, co-host country South Korea eliminated Italy in the Round of 16 by a score of 2–1. The game was highly controversial with a goal being ruled out for offside and Totti being sent off for an alleged dive, as well as a questionable penalty being given to Korea in the first half, which was saved by Buffon.

A three-way five point 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.[11] 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 Cup winners for the fourth time (2006 World Cup)[edit]

Gianluca Zambrotta during the World Cup
Within the crowd in the Circus Maximus in Rome, after the Italian team scored against France.

Italy's campaign in the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany was accompanied by open pessimism[12] 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.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15]

In the semifinals, 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 Zambrotta struck the post and the crossbar respectively, Grosso 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.[16] 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 headbutting Materazzi in the chest with a verbal exchange; the two players were eventually fined by FIFA for this incident. Italy then won the penalty shootout 5–3; the crucial penalty miss being David Trézéguet's powerful attempt that hit the crossbar and stayed out.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20][21]

Post World Cup and Lippi's return (2006–2010)[edit]

After the Italian triumph in the World Cup, 1994 World Cup star Roberto Donadoni was announced the new coach of the Azzurri. He replaced Lippi, who had announced his resignation before the World Cup's start.[22] Italy played in the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying Group B, along with France. Italy won the group, with France being the runner-up. On 14 February 2007, FIFA ranked Italy 1st in the FIFA World Rankings, with a total of 1488 points, 37 points ahead of second ranked Argentina. This moved them up one from their previous rank, 2nd. The Azzurri had not received such an honour since 1993.[23]

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.[24] The result was preserved by Gianluigi Buffon who saved a penalty kick from Mutu in the 80th minute.[24]

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.[25]

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 the 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. The national football team of Italy qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after playing home games at Stadio Friuli, Stadio Via del Mare, Stadio San Nicola, Stadio Olimpico di Torino and Stadio Ennio Tardini. In October 2009, they achieved the qualification after drawing with Republic of Ireland 2–2. On 4 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 New Zealand, they lost 3–2 to Slovakia. It was the first time Italy failed to win a single game at World Cup finals, and in doing so became the third nation to be eliminated in the first round while holding the World Cup crown, the first one being Brazil in 1966 and the second France in 2002.[26] Incidentally, the French national team, losing finalist in the 2006 World Cup, was also eliminated without winning a game in the first round in South Africa, making it the first time ever that no finalists of the previous edition were able to reach the second round.[27]

Prandelli Era: European Championship runners-up (2010–2014)[edit]

The national football team of Italy before the football game with Bulgaria, Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria, September 7, 2012

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.[28] Italy began their campaign with Prandelli with a disappointing 0–1 loss to Côte d'Ivoire in a friendly match.[29] 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.[30] Upon UEFA Disciplinary Review, Italy was awarded a 3–0 victory that propelled them to the top of their group.[31] In their first match of 2011, Italy drew 1–1 a friendly with Germany at Dortmund, in the same stadium where they beat Germany 2–0 to advance to the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. In March 2011, Italy pulled out a 1–0 win over Slovenia to again secure its spot at the top of the qualification table. They then defeated Ukraine 2–0 in a friendly, despite being reduced to ten men for the late stages of the match. With their 3–0 defeat of Estonia in another Euro 2012 qualifier, Prandelli's Italy secured the table lead and also achieved 9 undefeated games in a row since their initial debacle. The streak was ended on June 7, 2011 by Trapattoni's current charges, the Republic of Ireland, with Italy losing 0–2 in a friendly in Liège.

At the beginning of the second season under coach Prandelli, on August 10, 2011, Italy defeated the reigning World champions Spain for 2–1 in a friendly match played in Bari's Stadio San Nicola. They surprisingly lost in a friendly to the United States, 1–0, on home soil on February 29, 2012.[32]

Italy started their Euro 2012 campaign with a 1–1 draw to current reigning European and World champions Spain. Following this they met Croatia and were also held to a 1–1 draw. They finished second in their Group by beating Republic of Ireland 2–0, which landed them a match with winners of group D, England, in the quarter-finals. They managed to best England on penalty kicks, even though they were down early in the shootout. A save by the keeper, Gianluigi Buffon, put them ahead, after a daring chip shot from Andrea Pirlo boosted their spirits. Prandelli's side won the shootout 4–2.[33][34]

In their next game, the 1st semi final of the competition, they faced Germany. Germany was tipped by many to be the next European champions.[35][36][37][38][39] However two goals by Mario Balotelli saw Germany sent home and the Italians went through to the finals to face the title defenders Spain national football team.

In the final, however, they were unable to repeat their earlier performance against Spain, and fell 4–0 to decisively lose the championship. This marked the Italians first major cup tournament final appearance of the 2010 decade.

During the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, Italy started in what a group with Mexico, Japan, and Brazil. After beating Mexico 2-1 and Japan 4-3, Italy eventually lost their final group game against tournament hosts Brazil 4-2. Italy then faced Spain in the semi-finals, in what would be a rematch of the Euro 2012 final. Italy lost 7-6 (0-0 aet) in a penalty shoot out. Cesare Prandelli was praised for his tactics against the current World Cup and European champions.[40] Italy was then able to win the match for the third place by defeating Uruguay with the score of 5-4 (p.s.o., 2-2 aet) and gaining its best result in a Confederations Cup up to today.

Italy was drawn in UEFA Group B for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. They were able to easily win the group without losing any match. Despite of this they were not able to be seeded in pot 1 for the final seeding. In December 2013, Italy was drawn in Group D against Costa Rica, England, and Uruguay. In its first match in 2014 FIFA World Cup, Italy defeated England 2-1. In the second group stage match, Costa Rica surprised by defeating Italy 1-0.[41] In Italy's last match they were knocked out by Uruguay losing 1-0, despite two controversial calls from referee Marco Antonio Rodríguez (Mexico). In the 59th minute, midfielder Claudio Marchisio was sent off for a questionable tackle.[42][43] In the 80th minute, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez bit defender Giorgio Chiellini, but was not sent off.[44][45] Uruguay would go on to score, winning the game and eliminating Italy. This marked Italy's second consecutive failure to reach the Round of 16 at the World Cup finals. Shortly after this loss, Cesare Prandelli resigned.[46]

Competitive record[edit]

FIFA World Cup[edit]

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup Qualification record
Year Round Position Pld Won Drawn* Lost GF GA Pld Won Drawn Lost GF GA
Uruguay 1930 Did Not Enter
Italy 1934 Champions 1st 5 4 1 0 12 3 1 1 0 0 4 0
France 1938 Champions 1st 4 4 0 0 11 5 Qualified as defending champions
Brazil 1950 Group Stage 7th 2 1 0 1 4 3 Qualified as defending champions
Switzerland 1954 10th 3 1 0 2 6 7 2 2 0 0 7 2
Sweden 1958 Did Not Qualify 4 2 0 2 5 5
Chile 1962 Group Stage 9th 3 1 1 1 3 2 2 2 0 0 10 2
England 1966 9th 3 1 0 2 2 2 6 4 1 1 17 3
Mexico 1970 Runners-up 2nd 6 3 2 1 10 8 4 3 1 0 10 3
West Germany 1974 Group Stage 10th 3 1 1 1 5 4 6 4 2 0 12 0
Argentina 1978 Fourth Place 4th 7 4 1 2 9 6 6 5 0 1 18 4
Spain 1982 Champions 1st 7 4 3 0 12 6 8 5 2 1 12 5
Mexico 1986 Round of 16 12th 4 1 2 1 5 6 Qualified as defending champions
Italy 1990 Third Place 3rd 7 6 1 0 10 2 Qualified as hosts
United States 1994 Runners-up 2nd 7 4 2 1 8 5 10 7 2 1 22 7
France 1998 Quarter Final 5th 5 3 2 0 8 3 10 6 4 0 13 2
South Korea Japan 2002 Round of 16 15th 4 1 1 2 5 5 8 6 2 0 16 3
Germany 2006 Champions 1st 7 5 2 0 12 2 10 7 2 1 17 8
South Africa 2010 Group Stage 26th 3 0 2 1 4 5 10 7 3 0 18 7
Brazil 2014 22nd 3 1 0 2 2 3 10 6 4 0 19 9
Total 4 Titles 18/20 83 45 21 17 128 77 97 67 23 7 200 60
*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won.
***Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

UEFA European Championship[edit]

UEFA European Championship record UEFA European Championship Qualification record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA GP W D* L GS GA
France 1960 Did Not Enter
Spain 1964 Did Not Qualify 4 2 1 1 8 3
Italy 1968 Champions 1st 3 1 2 0 3 1 8 6 1 1 21 6
Belgium 1972 Did Not Qualify 6 4 3 1 13 6
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1976 6 2 3 1 3 3
Italy 1980 Fourth Place 4th 4 1 3 0 2 1 Qualified as hosts
France 1984 Did Not Qualify 8 1 3 4 6 12
West Germany 1988 Semi Final 4th 4 2 1 1 4 3 8 6 1 1 16 4
Sweden 1992 Did Not Qualify 8 3 4 1 12 5
England 1996 Group Stage 10th 3 1 1 1 3 3 10 7 2 1 20 6
Belgium Netherlands 2000 Runners-up 2nd 6 4 1 1 9 4 8 4 3 1 13 5
Portugal 2004 Group Stage 9th 3 1 2 0 3 2 8 5 2 1 17 4
Austria Switzerland 2008 Quarter Final 8th 4 1 2 1 3 4 12 9 2 1 22 9
Poland Ukraine 2012 Runners-up 2nd 6 2 3 1 6 7 10 8 2 0 20 2
Total 1 Title 8/14 33 13 15 5 33 25 96 57 27 14 171 65
*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.

FIFA Confederations Cup[edit]

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA Squad
Saudi Arabia 1992 Did Not Qualify
Saudi Arabia 1995
Saudi Arabia 1997
Mexico 1999
South Korea Japan 2001
France 2003
Germany 2005
South Africa 2009 Group Stage 5th 3 1 0 2 3 5 Squad
Brazil 2013 Third Place 3rd 5 2 2 1 10 10 Squad
Total Third Place 2/9 8 3 2 3 13 15 -


This is a list of honours for the senior Italian national team
  • Third place (1): 2013


Competition 1 2 3 Total
World Championship 4 2 1 7
European Championship 1 2 1 4
Confederations Cup 0 0 1 1
Olympic Games 1 0 2 3
Mediterranean Games 4 2 0 6
Universiade Games 1 5 0 6
Central European International Cup 2 1 0 3
Total 13 12 4 29


During the earliest days of Italian nation football, it was common for a Technical Commission to be appointed. The Commission took the role that a standard coach would currently play. Ever since 1967, the national team has been controlled by the coaches only.

For this reason, the coach of the Italian national team is still called Technical Commissioner (Commissario tecnico or CT, the use of this denomination has since then expanded into other team sports in Italy).

Recent results and forthcoming fixtures[edit]



UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying[edit]

Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Croatia 3 3 0 0 9 0 +9 9
 Italy 3 3 0 0 5 1 +4 9
 Norway 3 2 0 1 5 3 +2 6
 Bulgaria 3 1 0 2 3 4 −1 3
 Malta 3 0 0 3 0 6 −6 0
 Azerbaijan 3 0 0 3 2 10 −8 0
  Azerbaijan Bulgaria Croatia Italy Malta Norway
Azerbaijan  1–2 3 Sep '15 10 Oct '15 28 Mar '15 16 Nov '14
Bulgaria  13 Oct '15 0–1 28 Mar '15 16 Nov '14 3 Sep '15
Croatia  6–0 10 Oct '15 12 Jun '15 2–0 28 Mar '15
Italy  2–1 6 Sep '15 16 Nov '14 3 Sep '15 13 Oct '15
Malta  6 Sep '15 12 Jun '15 13 Oct '15 0–1 0–3
Norway  12 Jun '15 2–1 6 Sep '15 0–2 10 Oct '15


Current squad[edit]

The following players were called up for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying matches against Azerbaijan on 10 October and against Malta on 13 October 2014.
Caps and goals as of 13 October 2014, after the match against Malta.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Gianluigi Buffon (Captain) (1978-01-28) 28 January 1978 (age 36) 145 0 Italy Juventus
12 1GK Salvatore Sirigu (1987-01-12) 12 January 1987 (age 27) 10 0 France Paris Saint-Germain
16 1GK Mattia Perin (1992-11-10) 10 November 1992 (age 21) 0 0 Italy Genoa
3 2DF Giorgio Chiellini (1984-08-14) 14 August 1984 (age 30) 73 6 Italy Juventus
19 2DF Leonardo Bonucci (1987-05-01) 1 May 1987 (age 27) 42 3 Italy Juventus
13 2DF Andrea Ranocchia (1988-02-16) 16 February 1988 (age 26) 16 0 Italy Internazionale
2 2DF Mattia De Sciglio (1992-10-20) 20 October 1992 (age 22) 15 0 Italy Milan
4 2DF Angelo Ogbonna (1988-05-23) 23 May 1988 (age 26) 10 0 Italy Juventus
20 2DF Matteo Darmian (1989-12-02) 2 December 1989 (age 24) 8 0 Italy Torino
23 2DF Manuel Pasqual (1982-03-13) 13 March 1982 (age 32) 8 0 Italy Fiorentina
21 3MF Andrea Pirlo (Vice-Captain) (1979-05-19) 19 May 1979 (age 35) 113 13 Italy Juventus
8 3MF Claudio Marchisio (1986-01-19) 19 January 1986 (age 28) 50 4 Italy Juventus
14 3MF Alberto Aquilani (1984-07-07) 7 July 1984 (age 30) 37 5 Italy Fiorentina
6 3MF Antonio Candreva (1987-02-28) 28 February 1987 (age 27) 25 0 Italy Lazio
5 3MF Marco Verratti (1992-11-05) 5 November 1992 (age 21) 10 1 France Paris Saint-Germain
15 3MF Alessandro Florenzi (1991-03-11) 11 March 1991 (age 23) 7 1 Italy Roma
18 3MF Marco Parolo (1985-01-25) 25 January 1985 (age 29) 7 0 Italy Lazio
11 3MF Andrea Poli (1989-09-29) 29 September 1989 (age 25) 5 1 Italy Milan
10 4FW Sebastian Giovinco (1987-01-26) 26 January 1987 (age 27) 20 1 Italy Juventus
9 4FW Ciro Immobile (1990-02-20) 20 February 1990 (age 24) 8 1 Germany Borussia Dortmund
22 4FW Mattia Destro (1991-03-20) 20 March 1991 (age 23) 7 1 Italy Roma
7 4FW Simone Zaza (1991-06-25) 25 June 1991 (age 23) 3 1 Italy Sassuolo
17 4FW Graziano Pellè (1985-07-15) 15 July 1985 (age 29) 1 1 England Southampton

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have also been called up to the Italy squad within the last 12 months. Players that have retired from the national team and are not available for selection anymore are not displayed.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Daniele Padelli (1985-10-25) 25 October 1985 (age 29) 0 0 Italy Torino v.  Norway, 9 September 2014
GK Antonio Mirante (1983-07-08) 8 July 1983 (age 31) 0 0 Italy Parma 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary squad
GK Federico Marchetti (1983-02-07) 7 February 1983 (age 31) 11 0 Italy Lazio v.  Nigeria, 18 November 2013
DF Daniele Rugani (1994-04-29) 29 April 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Italy Empoli v.  Azerbaijan, 10 October 2014
DF Christian Maggio (1982-02-11) 11 February 1982 (age 32) 34 0 Italy Napoli v.  Norway, 9 September 2014
DF Davide Astori (1987-01-07) 7 January 1987 (age 27) 9 1 Italy Roma v.  Norway, 9 September 2014
DF Gabriel Paletta (1986-02-15) 15 February 1986 (age 28) 3 0 Italy Parma v.  Netherlands, 4 September 2014 INJ
DF Andrea Barzagli (1981-05-08) 8 May 1981 (age 33) 50 0 Italy Juventus 2014 FIFA World Cup
DF Ignazio Abate (1986-11-12) 12 November 1986 (age 27) 21 1 Italy Milan 2014 FIFA World Cup
DF Domenico Criscito (1986-12-30) 30 December 1986 (age 27) 22 0 Russia Zenit Saint Petersburg v.  Spain, 5 March 2014
MF Thiago Motta (1982-08-28) 28 August 1982 (age 32) 23 1 France Paris Saint-Germain v.  Azerbaijan, 10 October 2014INJ
MF Giacomo Bonaventura (1989-08-22) 22 August 1989 (age 25) 1 0 Italy Milan v.  Azerbaijan, 10 October 2014 INJ
MF Daniele De Rossi (Vice-Captain) (1983-07-24) 24 July 1983 (age 31) 99 16 Italy Roma v.  Norway, 9 September 2014
MF Emanuele Giaccherini (1985-05-05) 5 May 1985 (age 29) 21 3 England Sunderland v.  Norway, 9 September 2014
MF Riccardo Montolivo (1985-01-18) 18 January 1985 (age 29) 58 2 Italy Milan 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary squad
MF Rômulo (1987-05-22) 22 May 1987 (age 27) 0 0 Italy Juventus 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary squad
MF Alessandro Diamanti (1983-05-02) 2 May 1983 (age 31) 17 1 China Guangzhou Evergrande v.  Nigeria, 18 November 2013
FW Pablo Osvaldo (1986-01-12) 12 January 1986 (age 28) 14 4 Italy Internazionale v.  Azerbaijan, 10 October 2014INJ
FW Fabio Quagliarella (1983-01-31) 31 January 1983 (age 31) 25 7 Italy Torino v.  Norway, 9 September 2014
FW Stephan El Shaarawy (1992-10-27) 27 October 1992 (age 21) 10 1 Italy Milan v.  Norway, 9 September 2014
FW Antonio Cassano (1982-07-12) 12 July 1982 (age 32) 39 10 Italy Parma 2014 FIFA World Cup
FW Mario Balotelli (1990-08-12) 12 August 1990 (age 24) 33 13 England Liverpool 2014 FIFA World Cup
FW Alessio Cerci (1987-07-23) 23 July 1987 (age 27) 13 0 Spain Atlético Madrid 2014 FIFA World Cup
FW Lorenzo Insigne (1991-06-04) 4 June 1991 (age 23) 6 1 Italy Napoli 2014 FIFA World Cup
FW Giuseppe Rossi (1987-02-01) 1 February 1987 (age 27) 30 7 Italy Fiorentina 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary squad
FW Alberto Gilardino (1982-07-05) 5 July 1982 (age 32) 57 19 China Guangzhou Evergrande v.  Spain, 5 March 2014

INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
RET Retired from international football.

Previous squads[edit]

Most capped players[edit]

Gianluigi Buffon is the most capped player in the history of Italy with 145 caps.

As of 13 October 2014, the players with the most appearances for Italy are:

# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Gianluigi Buffon 1997–present 145 0
2 Fabio Cannavaro 1997–2010 136 2
3 Paolo Maldini 1988–2002 126 7
4 Andrea Pirlo 2002–present 113 13
5 Dino Zoff 1968–1983 112 0
6 Daniele De Rossi 2004–present 99 16
7 Gianluca Zambrotta 1999–2010 98 2
8 Giacinto Facchetti 1963–1977 94 3
9 Alessandro Del Piero 1995–2008 91 27
10 Marco Tardelli 1976–1985 81 6
Franco Baresi 1982–1994 81 1
Giuseppe Bergomi 1982–1998 81 6

Bold denotes still active players.

Top goalscorers[edit]

As of 13 October 2014, the players with the most goals for Italy are:

Luigi Riva is the top scorer in the history of Italy with 35 goals.
# Name Career Goals Caps Goals per match
1 Luigi Riva 1965–1974 35 42 0.83
2 Giuseppe Meazza 1930–1939 33 53 0.62
3 Silvio Piola 1935–1952 30 34 0.88
4 Roberto Baggio 1988–2004 27 56 0.48
Alessandro Del Piero 1995–2008 27 91 0.30
6 Adolfo Baloncieri 1920–1930 25 47 0.53
Filippo Inzaghi 1997–2007 25 57 0.44
Alessandro Altobelli 1980–1988 25 61 0.41
9 Christian Vieri 1997–2005 23 49 0.47
Francesco Graziani 1975–1983 23 64 0.36

Bold denotes still active players.

Head to head records[edit]

As of match played 9 September 2014.