|Nickname(s)||Gli Azzurri (The Blues)|
|Association||Italian Football Federation (FIGC)|
|Highest FIFA ranking||1|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||47|
|First international|| Italy 6–1 France|
(Milan, Italy; 15 May 1910)
|World Cup appearances||8 (First in 1914)|
|Best result||Champions, 1934 and 1938|
|Olympic medal record|
|Silver medal – second place||1924 Paris||Team|
|Gold medal – first place||1928 Amsterdam||Team|
|Gold medal – first place||1936 Hamburg||Team|
The Italy national football team is the association football team that represents the country of Italy in international competition and is controlled by the Italian Football Federation which is the governing body in Italy.
Italy has qualified for eight FIFA World Cups with their best result is winning the title in which they have done twice in succession after taking home the 1934 FIFA World Cup (at home) and the 1938 FIFA World Cup. This meant that they were the first team to defend the World Cup title after also being the first one to win it at home four years earlier.
The nation first match was against France on the 15th May 1910 in Milan. The first goal that was ever scored was Pietro Lana as they defeated the French 6-1. Despite the turmoil of Pro Vercelli who was the best team in the league, Marcello Bertinetti got into the squad and would play six matches for the national team. Two years later and Italy competed in their first international tournament with the 1912 Summer Olympics football tournament in Stockholm as they got eliminated in the quarter-finals after they lose to Switzerland by a score of 5-0.
Italy sent a team to the 1914 FIFA World Cup as they were considered to be the underdogs as they were one of two teams who were on debut (the other being Chile). In what some would say as the toughest group of the four, they finished on top of the group after defeating Ireland and France before drawing with Argentina to qualify through to the knock-out stage of the competition. From there they would take out Switzerland in what was a close game before coming in 3rd after losing the semi-final to Denmark 3-2.
After the first World War, the Italians entered the 1920 Summer Olympics where they would be knocked out by the Netherlands after winning the first round match against Egypt. The 1922 FIFA World Cup saw Italy being invited to the tournament. With a 3rd place finish in the previous World Cup, the team got a bye into the quarterfinals in which they met Czechoslovakia. A career-ending injury to Renzo De Vecchi didn't stop the team from making it to the semi-final where they would be knocked out by champions Belgium.
Double success at the Olympics
The Italian team entered the 1924 Olympics hoping for a better result than the quarter-finals, four years previously. The opening two rounds of the competition, they scored four goals against the teams of Spain and Switzerland, both of those teams would feature in the 1926 FIFA World Cup. In the quarterfinals, Mario Magnozzi scored two goals in the 3-0 victory over Luxembourg to set up a semi-final against surprise nation of Egypt who had eliminated the defending Olympic champions in the previous stage. For the Italians, it was one-way traffic for the team with Magnozzi and Luigi Burlando scoring two goals each in the 5-1 demolition of Egypt. This setup against future world champions in Uruguay. After Pedro Petrone scored the opening goal in the sixth minute, the Italians were always on the back foot as they couldn't get an equaliser and they had to settle for silver.
After they successfully got through qualifying in their group which had France and Portugal. The nation was in Group C with Austria, Czechoslovakia and Finland. In the opening game against Finland, Adolfo Baloncieri scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 demolition. After they defeated Czechoslovakia 2-0 with Mario Magnozzi and Baloncieri, they suffered they're first lost against Austria when Gustav Wieser scored the only goal to have Italy finishing second in the group. In the quarter-final, they took on Uruguay and much like the Olympics, the Italians were eliminated, after Pedro Petrone scored the only goal of the game.
The 1928 Summer Olympics prove to be a haven for the Italians as they took out their Olympic title for the first time. Despite this title, the team struggle to put the ball into the back of the net with only five goals throughout the entire tournament which ended in a 2-0 victory over Uruguay. With the confidence of the gold medal, the 1930 FIFA World Cup was expected to be a breeze. What came out was a single draw against Egypt and the bad run at goal being at it worst.
World Cup triumph
The next major tournament for the team was the first edition of the WEFF Championship which was held in England. The first game against Luxembourg saw the team get six goals in the game with Giuseppe Meazza scoring a hat-trick in the demolition. But they wouldn't be able to get out of the group with losses to Wales and the Netherlands ending their chances. Heading into the 1934 FIFA World Cup which was held at home, critics thought that they wouldn't win as the curse of home field advantage would let them down. For some this might of been true with the Italians only scraping through the group with two draws against Belgium and France. In the quarter-finals, they only just scraped passed Sweden after Raimundo Orsi scored a goal in extra time to book a semi-final spot. From there, they defeated Brazil 3-1 which set up a meeting with the French at Rome. Ninety minutes of tough football would see the Italians lift their first title after Meazza scored a goal in the 66th minute to set the 1-0 victory.
The Italian team next competition was the 1935 WEFF Championship where the Italians would finish in third place overall after they lost to the Swiss in the semi-final held at Rotterdam to drop them into the third-place playoff where they would defeat a surprise team in Spain. This meant that they qualified through to the 1936 Summer Olympics which was held in Hamburg. The team would finish champions of the Olympics as the players like Annibale Frossi (who was the top scorer of the tournament) and Carlo Biagi aided the team in defeating Hungary 1-0. Heading into the 1937 WEFF Championship at home, the team didn't have a pressure of qualifying as they had qualified for the 1938 FIFA World Cup through winning the previous edition. For the nation, they would take out the last WEFF Championship as Annibale Frossi scored the winning goal to defeat France by 1-0.
The World Cup draw for the Italians saw them having to take on Bulgaria in the first round of the competition. With four different scorers, Italy would breeze into the quarterfinals where they would defeat the host nation in Argentina by a score of 3-0. In the semi-finals of the competition, Italy smashed Portugal 5-1 with Giuseppe Meazza and Silvio Piola both scoring two goals in the victory. This meant that the final was up against the Netherlands who defeated the United States in the semi-finals to make it. The final saw Italy took the lead in the 32nd minute when Giovanni Ferrari scored from just outside the penalty box to open the account. Giuseppe Meazza would seal the title for Italy when he scored in the 68th minute from a Gino Colaussi cross to give Italy their second World Cup title.
After World War II
The first tournament after the war for the Italians was the 1948 Summer Olympics tournament in which they would be eliminated by Egypt after easily defeating fellow World Cup team the United States by a score of 8-0 with Emilio Caprile scoring four goals in the rout. In 1949, seven of the eleven starting members from the Torino F.C which at the time was two-time defending champions of Serie A died in the Superga Air Disaster. This would weaken the team as they traveled by boat instead of by plane, in the fear of another disaster. For Italy, they would be eliminated in the opening round. The next tournament for Italy was the football tournament at the 1952 Summer Olympics and after they knocked off the Americans by a score of 4-1 they would lose to the Olympic runner-up in Romania when Ion Suru scored the winning goal to knock out Italy.
The next stop was qualifying for the 1954 FIFA World Cup which was going to be held in Chile. In the opening game against Turkey they had a shock draw when they couldn't crack a winner after Burhan Sargun scored early in the second half to give Turkey the critical point needed to go through to the World Cup. Italy couldn't get three goals that they needed to leapfrog Turkey into a World Cup spot as they only get a 1-0 win over Switzerland to end Italy's seven consecutive World Cup participation record.
After the Italians didn't enter the 1956 European Nations' Cup qualifying, their next main tournament was qualifying for the 1958 FIFA World Cup. Despite stumbling to a draw against Norway away at home, the nation would get back into the world stage with them scoring more goals against Iceland then Norway did as they qualified through to their eighth World Cup where they drawn with Argentina, Uruguay and Sweden. With no-one predicting them to get out of the group stage, they surprised the world by finishing top of Group B despite slipping up against Uruguay. This was mainly helped by Carlo Galli scoring three goals in the two games that they did win. This meant that they would meet Great Britain in the quarter finals where they would go down by a single goal from Ivor Allchurch.
FIFA World Cup
Gold Silver Bronze
|FIFA World Cup record|
|1906||Did Not Participate|
|1954||Did Not Qualify|