ItalyPosted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
The Azzuri will be aiming to take home a second successive major title.
Coach: Roberto Donadoni (44) Took the reigns after the World Cup win two years ago and has done well to steer the Azzurri to the finals in his first major coaching role.
Away From The Game
Famous Export: Leonardo da Vinci (painter), Luciano Pavarotti (opera), Valentino Rossi (motor cycling).
National Food: Pasta and Pizza.
National Drink: Cappuccino and Espresso coffee.
National Animal: Italian Wolf
Star: Andrea Pirlo (29), AC Milan creative midfielder who operates in an advanced role for the Italians. Also a free-kick specialist.
Hidden Gem: Genarro Gattuso (30), AC Milan defensive midfielder. Keeps the team ticking over with spirit, determination and a fine eye for a pass.
How They Qualified: Group B winner, ahead of France, Scotland, Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine and the Faroe Islands.
Previous Best: Winners 1968
FIFA Ranking: 3
Key Fact: The traditional colour of Italian national teams is azure blue (Azzurro in Italian), due to the “Azzurro Savoia” (Savoy Blue), the colour traditionally linked to the dynasty which unified Italy in 1860. Therefore national team members are nicknamed Azzurri.
Overview: The World Champions were dealt a major blow when skipper Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out but the Azzurri have unquestionable quality throughout the squad. Veteran forward Angelio Del Piero has been recalled in but Donadoni’s side are unlikely to be playing the champagne football. An attack built on defence is the Italian way and the current set-up is sure to be one of the teams to watch.
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