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Euro 2012 Spotlight - Italy
Footytubeblog (Blog) 4 years ago

FIFA World Ranking

Tournament Odds

Key Players
Gianluigi Buffon – GK – 113 Caps, 0 Goals
Andrea Pirlo – MF - 82 Caps, 9 Goals
Daniele De Rossi – MF – 71 Caps, 10 Goals

Team Rating

C: Spain, Italy, Rep. of Ireland, Croatia

Notable Facts
  • Failed to win a single game at 2010 WC.

  • Conceded just 2 goals in qualifying for the 2012 European Championships.

  • Have 11 players with less than 10 caps and none with more than 15 goals in squad.

Italy's Chances
There is no question about it, Italy are a genuine football super power, winners of no fewer than 4 World Cups and a European Championships means that their status as one of the most successful international football nations is indisputable, but are they are only clinging on to their former glory on reputation rather than results?

Italy remain a member of the football elite in the same way one might consider Torino, FC Nuremberg or Liverpool (no I am not a United supporter, blue blood or the devil incarnate, just a realist), still harping on about their 18 league titles. Much like an eccentric old man that still dresses in the tailored pinstripe suit he used to wear 20 years ago when it was cool with his senses numbed to what has gone on since the enigma of the Italian national team has endured, many of us will remember fondly the drama of Roberto Baggio’s penalty shoot out miss in the final against Brazil at USA 1994 and how the brave side avenged their fate as recently as 2006 by winning a World Cup Final penalty shoot out against France in the infamous “head butt final”, this time tucking in 5 out of 5.

So with a World Cup win as recently as 2006 how do the Italian side find themselves so unfancied, below Denmark and Russia in the world rankings. Are they under rated? Maybe they’ve slipped under the radar for so long we’ve made the cardinal mistake of writing them off.

Well, in the last 5 European Championships they’ve progressed past the Quarter Final only once, the last of which was back in 2000. Their performances in the last 4 years gave not been so great. Lippi resigned after the World Cup win and whilst this looked like it hadn’t had too drastic an impact initially, things did take a turn for the worse soon enough.

After loosing 3-0 to the Netherlands and drawing 1-1 with Romania at Euro 2008 new manager Roberto Donadoni’s side scraped through the group by beating a diabolical French side on the verge of a revolt but were dumped out at the first knock out stage, though it was by Spain and only on Penalties, nothing shameful about that.

By the time the 2010 World Cup came around Lippi was back in, and as if to prove you should never return to a former lover this is where things got far worse for Italy. As defending champions expectations were high and therefore disappointment more gravely felt as Italy shocked the world by finishing bottom of one of the easiest groups after draws with Paraguay and lowly New Zealand were made even worse with a shocking defeat to Slovakia. It was the first time in their proud world cup history that they had failed to win a single match at the finals and Lippi was shown the door and replaced by Cesare Prandelli.

By all measures Italy’s qualifying stats for Euro 2012 have been very impressive, they scored a healthy 20 goals and conceded the fewest of any team in the final leaking just 2 in 10 group games whilst winning 8 games and drawing 2. So it would seem fairer to put 2010 down as a major slip up in an otherwise excellent history rather than view it as a sign of a nation in decline. It’s easy to assume Italy had an easy group but that would be short sighted, Estonia aren’t world beaters but they’re a good side as are Serbia and even Slovenia are a top 30 side who have qualified for the 2010 world cup, so why do people persist in writing Italy off.

Part of the reason may be that he side which won the 2006 World Cup was already old at that stage and many of them have left the international scene, legendary players like Gattuso, Cannavaro, Totti and Del Perio are no longer around and have been replaced by a breed of lesser known, un-trusted players, in fact just 3 members of the 2006 world cup final team have made the 23 man squad this time around (which is a very high turn over in just 6 years), and if you discount Buffon, Pirlo and De Rossi there is not a single player in the squad with more than 50 caps and none with more than 15 international goals. Perhaps this is where the lack of faith is derived from.

There are a good handful of youngsters, untested at international tournaments but with global reputations (such as Balotelli) who could make a big impact on Euro 2012 (one way or another) and nearly half of the squad (11 players) currently have less than 10 international caps so if anything the Italian team is one which has shed it’s old skin and is new blooding it’s new guard, one which certainly has talent and potential to be the very best again after a transitional blip in 2010.

What little test they have had so far in qualifying for Euro 2012 has been easily passed and I expect them the blow away the cobwebs of that old man reputation and rise to glory once again if the lack of experience is not exposed.

They may not be able to push ahead of Spain but they certainly have what it takes to do the business against Croatia and Ireland and with France or England likely to be waiting in the Quarters Italy could go even further than that.

“Araz Index”
Chance of qualifying from Group: 65%
Predicted Knock Out Stage: Semi Finals

“Matt Index”
Chance of qualifying from Group: 60%
Predicted Knock Out Stage: Quarter Finals

Matt's Possibly True Trivia

  • Balotelli has been taking extra training sessions and can now put a bib on correctly 73% of the time.

  • Unconfirmed reports have come to light stating 20 of the 23 man squad have put a bet on Spain 2 Italy 0

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Mosweezy (Juventus) 4 years ago
I believe Barzagli was on the roster in 2006 as well.... So that would make 4 returners? He didn't play but he sure was partying on the field in a blue uniform
Piza (Werder Bremen) 4 years ago
Oh bella Italia.... Another betting scandal, really? Come on, get your s**t together! It hurts to see such a glorious football nation ripping of their own fans
MOER7 (Real Madrid) 4 years ago
Looking forward for all italy's games even though I don't see them as favourites but at least we'll watch a beautiful football. To be honest I wanna see Juventus players playing their game as the new manager decided to use 3-5-2 formation. Juveeeeee

Nicoacademia (AC Milan) 4 years ago
I hate juve. But if its good for italy I will swallow the bitter pill.
Italy is a footballing nation unlike any other. If we do well, expect us to win it. Just like in wc 2006.
Forza italia!
Twk80 (Juventus) 4 years ago
Come on boys, you guys can do it.... Forza Azzurri! Forza Italia!
Rezatnt (Barcelona) 4 years ago
Hope they can do something,  But italy - spain semifinal, , , eemmm not so sure !  
Superfanof (Manchester United) 4 years ago
Rifles up and aim for the Champs

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