The Italian national men’s football team officially represents Italy in international competitions. One of the most successful football teams in the world, the Italians have won four World Cups and one UEFA European Championship. The team has also won the Olympic football tournament in 1936. Currently ranked 7th in the World FIFA rankings, the team is managed by Roberto Mancini and captained by Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini. The team falls under the global jurisdiction of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) and Union of European Football Association (UEFA) in Europe. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC), also known as Federcalcio, is the governing football body in Italy. The team, also known as Azzurri, which translates to the blues, dons the savoy blue colour.
History of Italy's national football team
The team’s first official match was played against France in Milan on 15th May, 1910. Italy won the match 6-2 with the first official goal scored by Pietro Lana. The Azzurris played with a system of 2-3-5 and had players such as De Simoni, Varisco, Calì, Trerè, Debernardi, Fossati, Capello, Rizzi, Boiocchi, Cevenini I, Lana. The first official captain of the Italian team was Francesco Calì. In few years since the formation of the team, the team tasted success at a major international tournament with a bronze medal in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. Later in the 1936 Olympics, the team won a gold medal.
Formation of the Italian football federation
The governing body of Italian football is based in Rome and its technical department is in Coverciano, Florence. It is responsible for men’s, women’s football teams and youth teams. The federation was established on March 26, 1898 in Turin. Mario Vicary was the first official president.
Italy at the FIFA World Cup
Italy is one of the most successful teams in arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. The team has played in 18 out of the 21 tournaments, and reached the finals 6 times. The team also finished third and fourth once each. The team has won 4 world titles in 1934, 1938, 1982, and the last in 2006. Brazil is the most successful team with 5 titles and Germany is tied with Italy with 4 titles.
Italy declined to participate in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. It then went on to win the next two titles, becoming the first team ever to do so. In the 1950 World Cup, the team failed to progress past the group stage as the team was weakened because of an air crash that killed 10 of the 11 players from the initial line-up. In the 1954 World Cup, the team again failed to go past the group stage. In 1958, the team failed to qualify for the World Cup altogether. In 1962 and 1966, again, the team failed to progress from the group stage. In the 1970 World Cup, the team was able to reach the final where it lost to Brazil. They reached the final after defeating West Germany in the semi-final which is considered as the “Game of the Century”, one of the greatest games in the history of the sport. It was in 1980, after a gap of several decades, the Azzurris were able to win its third World Cup title. The Italians defeated the West German team to claim its third title. That was its last World Cup title before 2006 when the team surprised the home team Germany to win its fourth world title. The team saw a decline after 2006 and, in 2018, the team failed to qualify for the mega event for the first time since 1958.
Italy at the UEFA European Championship
A team that has won 4 world titles has been able to win the European Championship just once in 1968. It finished runners twice in 2000 and in 2012. The Italians have participated in 9 European Championships to date. The team has qualified for the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup and is one of favourites to win the tournament under manager Roberto Mancini. The team has not lost a match since a defeat against Portugal in September 2018.