Mini football figure - Italy
Miniature football player with kit of the national team of Italy.
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Return & Refund
The Italian men's national football team is the selection team of the Italian football federation Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC). Also known as the Squadra Azzurra, Gli Azzurri or La Nazionale, the team is led by the Commissario Tecnico, the national coach. It participates in international matches against other national associations at international level.
The Italian side is one of the most successful national teams in football, having won four World Cups (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), two European Championships (1968, 2021), two European Cups (1927-1930, 1933-1935) and one Olympic title (1936). Italy ranked sixth in the FIFA World Ranking of February 2022.
A new generation (1986-1991)
Expectations were high for the 1990 World Cup on home soil. New players in the squad included Roberto Baggio and Salvatore Schillaci. Italy confidently reached the semi-finals without conceding a single goal and the Sicilian Schillaci became a celebrated national hero with his goals. The semi-finals, however, turned out to be a nightmare for Italy as they met world champions Argentina, who had struggled through the tournament with mediocre performances. Italy took an early lead through Schillaci, but Caniggia equalised in the 67th minute. Argentina thus saved themselves for the penalty shoot-out, where penalty-killer Sergio Goycochea proved his class once again. Italy lost and reached third place by beating England. Schillaci was top scorer and voted best player of the tournament. Vicini resigned a year later after Italy failed to qualify for the 1992 European Championship in Sweden.
Sacchi's Cultural Revolution (1991-1998)
AC Milan's champion coach Arrigo Sacchi succeeded him in 1991. Sacchi not only wanted to make Italy successful again, he also strove to change the culture of the game. Instead of tactical defensive play, he wanted to implement his philosophy of offensive football, which had been successful at club level, in the national team. In the end, however, the right players were lacking. Only Roberto Baggio was absolutely world class in the offensive. Qualification for the 1994 World Cup in the USA was achieved ahead of Switzerland. The tournament began with a disappointment. Italy lost to the underdog Ireland 0:1 and only made it through the group in third place. Similar to 1982, Italy again proved to be a tournament team. Roberto Baggio played three great games and almost single-handedly sent Italy to the World Cup final. This was to be revenge for the 1970 defeat by Brazil. The final was characterised by total security and both teams neutralised each other tactically for almost the entire match. After two hours, the score was 0-0 and it came down to a penalty shoot-out. Of all people, the top performers Baresi and Baggio missed their penalties and Brazil, not Italy, won the fourth world championship title.
This near-triumph was followed by another disappointment: at the European Championship in England, they were eliminated in third place after a win against Russia, a defeat against the future European runners-up, the Czech Republic, and a draw against the future European champions, Germany.
Cesare Maldini, Paolo Maldin's father, took over as national coach after the disappointment. He qualified for the World Cup in France and advanced to the quarter-finals. There they met the future world champions France. After 120 minutes, the score was 0-0 and the penalty shoot-out had to decide. Luigi Di Biagio was the unlucky one who put the ball against the crossbar and sealed Italy's fate.
Two defeats after a golden goal and the "Scandinavian match fixing" (1998-2004)
After the 1998 World Cup, Dino Zoff became Italy's new national coach.
In the preliminary round Group B of EURO 2000, they advanced to the next round without any problems by winning three matches. In the first match, they defeated a Turkish team that was keeping up well, 2-1, with goals from Antonio Conte and Filippo Inzaghi. In the second match, they beat the hosts Belgium 2-0, with Stefano Fiore and Francesco Totti scoring the decisive goals. In the third match, before which they had already qualified, they beat Sweden 2-1 with a late goal from Del Piero. In the quarter-final against Romania, they won 2-0 with goals from Totti and Inzaghi and a red card against Gheorghe Hagi after 60 minutes. The semi-finals saw a clash with the second hosts, the Netherlands. This game was 0-0 after both regulation and extra time, with Gianluca Zambrotta sent off after 34 minutes with a yellow-red card, followed shortly after by a strong performance from Francesco Toldo, who saved a Frank de Boer penalty. Despite being outnumbered for almost 90 minutes, the Dutch failed to score as Patrick Kluivert's second-half penalty also hit the post. So Italy saved themselves for the penalty shoot-out. After Di Biagio, Pessotto and Totti scored and Maldini missed, the Dutch were under pressure after missing two of three penalties (Toldo saves from De Boer, Stam misses), but Paul Bosvelt failed to beat the brilliant Toldo to seal Italy's place in the final. In the final against France, Marco Delvecchio's 55th-minute goal gave them the lead, which they held until stoppage time. In injury time, Sylvain Wiltord scored to make it 1-1 and force extra time, in which David Trezeguet scored the golden goal to make it 2-1. In the wake of the good European Championship, four players - Francesco Toldo, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti - were named in the UEFA all-star team. Despite the good result, Zoff announced his resignation as national coach.
Giovanni Trapattoni, who had previously been very successful in club football, was hired as Dino Zoff's successor. Under him, the national team continued its good development, losing only two friendly matches (1:2 against Argentina and 0:1 against the Czech Republic) before the 2002 World Cup. Otherwise, good results were consistently achieved, such as the test match victories against England (1:0, 2:1). In the World Cup qualifying Group 8, the team achieved a commanding first place and secured its participation in the World Cup with eight victories and two draws.
For the World Cup, they were drawn in Group G together with Ecuador, Croatia and Mexico. In the round of 16 match against South Korea, however, they were very unlucky to be eliminated from the tournament. After the tournament, record international Paolo Maldini ended his national team career after 126 caps.
In the European Championship in 2004, in Group C, they faced Denmark, Sweden and Bulgaria. In a weak first match against Denmark, no goals were scored. In the second match against Sweden, they took the lead through the young Antonio Cassano, but failed to build on it, so that Zlatan Ibrahimović managed to equalise shortly before the end of the game and they drew 1-1. Before the last game against the already eliminated Bulgarians, the starting position for the Italians was very complicated. They had to win to enter the quarter-finals. In addition, the match between the Danes and Sweden could not end in a draw from 2:2 or higher, because they would be eliminated (no matter how high they would win against Bulgaria) due to the direct comparison. A 2-1 win, courtesy of a Cassano goal in the fourth minute of injury time, had at least kept their chances of reaching the quarter-finals alive. However, Denmark and Sweden drew 2-2, exactly the result that was enough for both to progress, meaning Italy were eliminated in the preliminary round. Particularly in the spotlight was the suspicion of match-fixing, as Morten Olsen's pre-match statement "Of course we'll make a deal" further fuelled discussions after the final whistle: the Danes led 2-1 for a long time and deserved to, but in the closing stages of the game Sweden managed to score the 2:2 after a goalkeeping error by Thomas Sørensen, which meant both teams progressed and Italy was eliminated. Trapattoni, however, dismissed the criticism, saying that both teams behaved in a sporting manner and the elimination was based solely on their performance. The Italian FA reacted accordingly and allowed Trapattoni's contract to expire. Despite the early exit, Gianluca Zambrotta was honoured by being listed in the All-Star team.
World Cup title in Germany in 2006 and elimination after the group stage in South Africa in 2010 (2004-2010)
After Giovanni Trapattoni's expiring contract was not renewed, the Italian FA brought in Marcello Lippi, a previously highly successful club coach, as the new Commissario Tecnico. After initial failures (0:2 against Iceland in the first game and further draws against weaker opponents), the team succeeded in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, which, however, was rather mixed. Mostly they completed compulsory tasks, but sometimes the team was not convincing enough against their group opponents (0:1 against Slovenia, 0:0 against Norway and 1:1 against Scotland), so that doubts arose from time to time. In the preparation for the World Cup, however, the team showed its class (especially in the 3:1 against the Netherlands and 4:1 against Germany) and indicated that there was great potential.
They had a good preliminary round at the World Cup, with two unchallenged wins against Ghana in the first game and against the Czech Republic in the third (both 2-0) and a draw against the USA (1-1), which caused a big stir because three sending-offs were handed out. The first red card was given to Daniele De Rossi for an elbow strike on Brian McBride, while the second was given to Pablo Mastroeni for a dangerous tackle on Andrea Pirlo. In addition, Eddie Pope received a yellow card for repeated foul play, and the overall harshness of the game was conspicuous. As group winners, they qualified for the last 16, where they beat Australia 1-0 despite a sending-off for Marco Materazzi. Francesco Totti's penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time was controversial, but it was clear from the television pictures that Fabio Grosso had been fouled by Lucas Neill. In the quarter-finals, they were able to advance to the semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Ukraine. In the semi-finals, they met the hosts Germany and played a high-class and exciting match in which two late goals in extra time by Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero secured them a place in the final. In the final, which turned into a breathtaking match, they faced the French, who were getting stronger and stronger in the tournament. After just seven minutes, Zinédine Zidane converted a foul penalty awarded to Florent Malouda by Marco Materazzi, but shortly afterwards Materazzi equalised from a corner. The game remained even until the end, although France had the upper hand, especially thanks to Zidane's class. It was only in extra time that the advantage fizzled out when Zizou was sent off. Zizou was provoked into assaulting Materazzi and headbutted him, after which he was sent off by the referee. As no further goals were scored, the penalty shoot-out had to decide the match. All the Italian shooters scored, while David Trezeguet only hit the crossbar, making Italy world champions for the fourth time. Fabio Cannavaro was awarded the silver ball, Andrea Pirlo the bronze ball and Gianluigi Buffon the golden glove. These three were also in the tournament's All-Star team along with Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso, Francesco Totti and Luca Toni. Shortly afterwards, Francesco Totti and, a little later, Alessandro Nesta announced their retirement from the national team.
After the World Cup victory, Marcello Lippi resigned as coach and was succeeded by Roberto Donadoni. Italy got off to a disastrously bad start in the European Championship 208. The absence of Fabio Cannavaro meant a considerable weakening of the defence, which had been Italy's showpiece at the 2006 World Cup. The numerous mistakes were exploited by the Dutch in the first game. Trailing 2-0 at the break, they had several chances to get back into the game in the second half, but the Italians lacked the necessary composure and cleverness to overcome Edwin van der Sar. However, the experienced team quickly recovered from this defeat and presented itself much improved in the match against Romania a few days later. The high-class match ultimately ended in a draw. The final match against France was won 2:0; especially the Italian defence regained its old strength against the French team. Thus, the expected entry into the quarter-finals as group runners-up was achieved. Thanks to their disciplined tactical play, they reached the penalty shootout against the eventual tournament winners Spain. Donadoni's contract was not renewed with the elimination of the Italian team and he had to vacate his seat. All in all, his tenure was considered a failure, as the game did not develop under him and there were no successes to show for it.
In June 2008, the Italian FA announced that Marcello Lippi would once again coach the national team and lead them to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In the World Cup Group F, the team was considered a sure favourite, only Paraguay was considered an outsider. They had to play Paraguay in the first group match and showed a mediocre performance with a 1-1 draw, in which they were further weakened by the absence of Gianluigi Buffon, after Andrea Pirlo was already unavailable for the first matches. In the second match, where everyone expected a big win, the brave New Zealanders fought their way to a not undeserved 1-1 draw, which also gave them a chance to advance. On the last matchday, everything was open and every team still had a chance to reach the next round. A win against Slovakia was a must, otherwise they would be eliminated as defending champions. Lippi relied on a similar team as in the previous matches and had to watch Róbert Vittek put the Slovaks 2-0 ahead. However, Antonio Di Natale scored the equaliser with ten minutes to go and they were suddenly back in contention for the last 16 as the other game was 0-0, so a draw would be enough. Shortly afterwards, the strong Fabio Quagliarella scored a goal, but it was disallowed for offside, they opened up and were punished with the 1:3. Quagliarella was able to reduce the deficit with a beautiful shot, but they lost 2:3 and were eliminated from the group. They were the biggest disappointment of the tournament after the French, who also boycotted their coach Raymond Domenech. As a result, Marcello Lippi announced his resignation and took all the blame. In addition, captain and record player Fabio Cannavaro ended his national team career after 136 appearances.
European Championship final in 2012, another group elimination at a World Cup and missed World Cup finals in Russia in 2018 (2010-2017)
After the disastrous World Cup in South Africa and the subsequent resignation of Marcello Lippi, Cesare Prandelli, until then coach of AC Florence, became the new national coach. On taking office, he also introduced a code of ethics whereby he voluntarily waived players if they were conspicuous for assault or verbal abuse. He also visibly rejuvenated the team and introduced an attacking system of play (usually a 4-1-3-2) that emphasised combination football. His first match as coach of the Azzurri on 10 August 2010 against the Ivory Coast was a 1-0 loss. After that, the team's performances remained mixed, with draws against Northern Ireland and Romania, for example. It was not until the 1-1 draw against Germany in Dortmund on 9 February 2011 that an improvement in performance was noticeable. In the end, they qualified for the European Championship unbeaten and with only two goals conceded. Before the tournament, however, three defeats in a row followed against Uruguay, the USA and Russia.
Shortly before the European Championship, many details of a betting scandal in Italian football became known, so that the police arrived at the training camp shortly before departure for the European Championship. Strong accusations were made against Domenico Criscito, who was subsequently dropped by Prandelli from the squad for the Euro. Leonardo Bonucci and Gianluigi Buffon were also suspected of match-fixing, but both travelled with the team to the tournament. After the investigation was completed, all allegations proved to be groundless. In the Azzurri's first match against Spain in Group C, they earned a respectable 1-1 draw, which was not only dubbed a "treat" by the press, but was also notable for its unfamiliar 3-5-2 system, with which the Spaniards did not cope well. In the second match against Croatia, they also only managed a 1-1 draw. In the last group match, which had to be won at all costs to reach the quarter-finals, they managed a 2-0 win against Ireland, which secured second place in the group behind Spain due to Croatia's simultaneous defeat by Spain. In the following quarter-final against England, they only progressed in a penalty shoot-out, in which Andrea Pirlo's penalty caused a big stir, despite having an overwhelming superiority throughout the game. In the semi-finals, thanks to a strong Mario Balotelli, they beat Germany 2-1, who were favourites going into the game, to reach a European Championship final for the third time after 1968 and 2000. This appearance in the final also qualified them for the 2013 Confed Cup, as Spain had already qualified as world champions as their opponents in the final. The final was lost 4-0 to a strong Spanish team, which meant that the surprise of the tournament did not materialise. After the injury of Thiago Mottas, who had just been substituted, the team was forced to play for half an hour shorthanded due to the fact that the substitution quota had already been exhausted. Nevertheless, the tournament was considered a success for the Italians because, despite the betting scandal and a messed-up preparation, they were able to forget the bad World Cup two years ago and played convincing, attacking football. For example, Italy was the only team to play with two strikers permanently, whereas all the other teams relied on a single striker. In addition, Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli were included in the UEFA All-Star team.
After the European Championship, Cesare Prandelli continued to play attacking football. After a friendly defeat against England, four qualifying matches followed, which were successful despite mediocre performances with three wins (2-0 against Malta, 3-1 against Armenia, 3-1 against Denmark) and a draw (2-2 against Bulgaria). The following friendly matches against France (1:2), the Netherlands (1:1) and Brazil (2:2) were also rather mixed, which was also due to the fact that Prandelli wants to try out and test a few things in such matches. In the following qualifying match against Malta, a lacklustre 2-0 victory was achieved, in which the Maltese did not play badly for a long time. The two test matches in preparation for the Confed Cup against San Marino (4:0) and Haiti (2:2) and the qualifying match against the Czech Republic (0:0) were also not characterised by great brilliance. They travelled to the Confed Cup more as underdogs, as Spain and Brazil went into the tournament as favourites. In addition, the Europeans were said to be at a disadvantage against Brazil and Uruguay, as the latter were better able to cope with the climatic conditions and Prandelli was mainly testing players for the World Cup. In their first match, they put in a convincing performance to defeat Mexico 2-1, with Andrea Pirlo scoring a free-kick in his 100th international match. The next match against the good Japanese was a thriller: After trailing 2-0, the team built up a 3-2 lead, which was equalised shortly afterwards. Shortly before the end, however, Sebastian Giovinco scored the winning goal and the team qualified early for the semi-finals. The third group match was very unfortunate: after having to do without Pirlo, both Ignazio Abate and Riccardo Montolivo were injured at the beginning of the match. However, they were able to keep up with the Brazilians for a long time, but they forced a victory and won the group with two Fred goals. As a result, they had to play Spain in the semi-finals, the fourth time they had faced them in the last two years. They were well prepared for their opponents and played for counter-attacking chances, which they did not take advantage of, so that after a goalless game and extra time they had to go into a penalty shoot-out. There, all shooters were successful, only Leonardo Bonucci missed the goal, so that they failed again against Spain. In the much-criticised third-place match, Uruguay were particularly keen to win and fielded their best players, while Prandelli rotated them. Italy took the lead on each occasion thanks to two standards from Alessandro Diamanti, which Edinson Cavani equalised. After an exhausting tournament and a sending-off against Montolivo, they saved themselves for the penalty shoot-out. Buffon saved three penalties to secure third place.
With a six-point lead over the second-placed Danes, the team secured first place in the group and qualified directly for the finals. Before the World Cup, there was a 1-0 loss to Spain in March 2014, a goalless draw against Ireland and a disappointing 1-1 draw against Luxembourg. At the 2014 World Cup, the Azzurri were drawn in preliminary round Group D along with two other former world champions, England and Uruguay, and underdog Costa Rica. In their first match against England, they took the lead after 35 minutes with a Claudio Marchisio goal, only to see Daniel Sturridge equalise two minutes later and Balotelli score the winner five minutes after the break. In the second match, they lost 1-0 to Costa Rica after Bryan Ruiz scored the winner for the underdogs from Central America just before the break. The Central Americans qualified early with this win while the English were eliminated with the Costa Rican victory. Italy could not lose against Uruguay. Even a draw would have been enough to advance. After a dull 45 minutes, the second half was a real drama as Claudio Marchisio was sent off in the 59th minute and Luis Suárez was not penalised for biting Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder. Diego Godín scored the winner for Uruguay in the 81st minute and Italy were eliminated after the group stage for the second time since 2010. As a result of the elimination in the preliminary round, Prandelli announced his immediate resignation.
He was succeeded by Antonio Conte, who had previously been coach at Juventus Torino and won the Italian championship three times with that club. His debut was successful when they won 2-0 against the World Cup third-placed Netherlands in Bari. In the European Championship qualifiers, they faced Norway, Azerbaijan, Malta, Croatia and Bulgaria. They got off to a winning start in Oslo, beating the Norwegians 2-0 with goals from Simone Zaza and Leonardo Bonucci and the Berti Vogts-coached Azerbaijanis 2-1 in their second match. The year ended with a win against Malta and a 1-1 draw against Croatia at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan.
In the end, the Italian team finished their qualifying group as undefeated group winners and qualified directly for the European Championship finals. There, the Squadra Azzurra was drawn together with Belgium, Sweden and Ireland in the preliminary round group E. In the opening match, Italy managed a 2-0 victory against the supposed group favourites from Belgium. After a 1-0 win over Sweden in the second group match, the Italian team was already the group winner. Italy, who fielded numerous substitutes, lost their third group match 1-0 to Ireland. In the last 16, they met Spain, as in the final four years earlier. With a 2-0 win, the Azzurri advanced to the quarter-finals, where Italy met Germany, as in the 2012 semi-finals. After falling behind midway through the second half, the Italian team equalised with a handball penalty about ten minutes from time. No further goals were scored in the remainder of regulation time and extra time, so the match went to a penalty shoot-out. While three German players failed to convert their penalties, four Italian players missed theirs and Italy was eliminated from the tournament. This was the first time that an Italian national team had lost out to a German team in a major tournament, albeit only in a penalty shoot-out.
After the tournament, Conte resigned as national coach to become coach of Chelsea FC. His successor was Gian Piero Ventura. He made his debut as national coach in the 3-1 defeat on 1 September 2016 in a test match in Bari against European runners-up France, with 17-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma coming on as a second-half substitute. Five days later, Italy started the preliminaries for the 2018 World Cup, where they played in a group with Israel, Spain, Macedonia, Liechtenstein and Albania. With a draw in the top match against Spain and five wins in six matches up to June 2017, Italy were equal second on points with Spain. Due to a defeat in the second leg against the Spaniards, Italy, who won all of their remaining three matches, finished second behind the Iberians at the end of the qualifiers and had to play in the relegation matches. There they met Sweden. The first leg in Solna ended in a 1-0 defeat, and in the second leg in Milan Italy failed to progress beyond a goalless draw, missing out on a World Cup finals for the first time since 1958 and, more generally, a finals for the first time since failing to take part in the 1992 European Championship in Sweden. Shortly after the failure, Gianluigi Buffon announced his retirement from the national team. Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi also resigned from the national team.
Present (since 2018)
Buffon revised his decision in February 2018 and was available for the following two test matches in March 2018 against Argentina and England. Under interim coach Luigi Di Biagio, a 2-0 loss to Argentina and a 1-1 draw with England followed. In early summer 2018, Buffon announced his permanent retirement from the national team. Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini was introduced as the new coach of the Italian national team. In their first match under Mancini, Italy managed a 2-1 test match victory over Saudi Arabia in St Gallen on 28 May 2018, before a 3-1 defeat to eventual world champions France in Nice three days later. Again three days later, the Italian national team drew 1-1 with the Netherlands in Turin. The UEFA Nations League began in September 2018, with Italy playing in League A in a group with Poland and Portugal. With one defeat, one win as well as two draws, Italy finished second in their group in League A in the UEFA Nations League.
In the qualifiers for the 2021 European Championship (initially scheduled for 2020), the Squadra Azzurra faced Finland, Liechtenstein, Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Armenia. Italy won the opening match against Finland 2:0, on the second match day Liechtenstein was defeated 6:0. After the 7th of 10 match days, Italy, who had won every match so far, was the second fixed participant in the European Championship after Belgium. The Italians were drawn into Group A of the finals.
The opening match of the European Championship at the Olympic Stadium in Rome was won by Italy against Turkey with 3:0. In the second match, Italy defeated Switzerland also with 3:0, followed by the third match against Wales with 1:0. The three victories qualified Italy for the round of 16, which they won 2-1 against Austria and qualified for the quarter-finals, which they won 2-1 against Belgium in Munich. Roberto Mancini's side won the semi-final against Spain 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. In the final on 11 July 2021 at Wembley Stadium against England, the score was 1-1 after 120 minutes before the Italians were crowned European champions for the second time since 1968 after a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win. Qualification for the 2022 World Cup began before the European Championship and Italy faced Northern Ireland, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Switzerland. As reigning European champions, the Squadra Azzurra had to enter the play-offs after four draws and four wins, and their opponents were North Macedonia on 24 March 2022. The semi-final match in Palermo was lost 1-0 by a goal in injury time, meaning Italy missed out on a World Cup for the second time in a row.
- 61 mm
- 40 gramms