Italians, the European Champions in 1968, will fight for the European Championship trophy for the eighth time.
It must be admitted that the team of Cesare Prandelli was lucky in the qualifying rounds to be in the same group as their biggest rivals were the teams of Serbia, and Estonia. Squadra Azzurra easily won the group competition by scoring eight wins and two draws. The best scorer was Antonio Cassano with the score of six goals.
In the group phase of the main event it will not be so easy. Italy will play its meeting in Gdańsk and Poznań and their rivals will be the current European Champions: Spain, Ireland and Croatia.
After winning the World Cup in 2006, the Azurrich team did not perform so well. At the last Euro they just reached the quarterfinals and at the World Cup in South Africa they dropped out just after the matches in the group. The strength of the Italians will be Gianluigi Buffon in the goalpost, and Giorgio Chiellini, Giampaolo Pazzini, Daniele De Rossi, Thiago Motta and Andrea Pirlo.
The appetites to win or get the place in the best four of the tournament are enormous. The Italians have a strong team, consisting of players of great ability, who together form a powerful weapon that can reach the medal zone.
Italy Euro 2012 Squad
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (SSC Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain FC).
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (US Città di Palermo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Christian Maggio (SSC Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino FC).
Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna FC), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus) Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (ACF Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain FC), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus).
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City FC), Fabio Borini (AS Roma), Antonio Cassano (AC Milan), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese Calcio), Sebastian Giovinco (FC Parma).
Italy Group Matches
Sunday, June 10, 2012 Spain v Italy (18:00 CET in Gdansk)
Thursday, June 14, 2012 Italy v Croatia (18:00 CET in Poznan)
Monday, June 18, 2012 Italy v Ireland (20:45 CET in Poznan)
Italy Quick Facts
- Best World Cup Result: Winners (1934, 1938, 1882, 2006)
- Best European Championship Result: Winners (1968)
- Record Scorer: Luigi Riva (35 goals from 1965-1974)
- Most Capped Player: Fabio Cannavaro (136 caps from 1997-2010)
- Coach: Cesare Prandelli
- Captain: Gianluigi Buffon