Italian National Football Team
Italy have won the World Cup four times and the current World Champions , having won the competition in 2006. Only Brazil has won more World Cups than Italy, and two of Brazil's wins were in finals against Italy, in 1970 and 1994.
Italy entered their first World Cup in 1930 and proceeded to win back to back, taking the 1934 title as well. They struggled post war for several decades, not reaching the final again until 1970, where a team thought of as one of Italy's best lost 4-0 to a Brazil team considered one of the best ever. They won the World Cup for a third time in 1982, defeating West Germany in the final. Since then Italy have remained a major team and were regularly one of the favourites going into the World Cup, only losing the final in 1994 on penalties, but it wasn't until the most recent World Cup in 2006 that they became champions for the fourth time, defeating France on penalties. Despite their phenomenal success, Italy have always been a controversial footballing nation. Their professional league has been dogged by corruption and match fixing allegations, and their World Cup victories in both 1982 and 2006 occurred under the shadow of major scandals in Serie A . In addition, their defensive playing style has often been criticised for being negative and uninteresting to watch.
The current side are not as strong as the one that took the title four years ago, with many of their best players nearing retirement age. They are the bookies' fourth favourites to retain their title, tied with France, based mostly on their reputation and experience, as well as the quality that still lies within their squad.
2010 World Cup
Italy are drawn in Group F , with Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia.
Famous Italian Football Players
A World Cup winner in 1982 and the only player to win the Golden Boot(top scorer), Golden Ball(best player) and winners medal at the same World Cup, Rossi is considered one of the greatest Italian players. Rossi rose to prominence with Italian side Vicenza , and spent the majority of his post World Cup years very successfully with Juventus.
Nicknamed The Divine Ponytail because of his hairstyle, Baggio was Italy's star player for most of the 90s, had a successful club career with Juventus and AC Milan , and is the only Italian to score in three World Cup finals. In 1994 he took Italy to the final, tying for the Golden Boot. Sadly, despite being one of the players of the tournament, it was his missed penalty which cost Italy the match.
The former Real Madrid defender was a crucial part of the 2006 World Cup winning side, and was the first defender to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award. He recently returned to his previous club, Juventus , where he will play the current season.