Euro 2016 Group E

Italy

13 June - Belgium (8pm GMT, Stade de Lyon, Lyon)
17 June - Sweden (2pm GMT, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse)
22 June – Republic of Ireland (8pm GMT, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille)

 

Italy go into Euro 2016 with uncertainty, an injury crisis and low confidence. Susy Campanale writes.

Azzurri Anxiety

The omens are not good for the Nazionale, as stars like Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio are ruled out, veterans are off form and Coach Antonio Conte is distracted by his next job at Chelsea. Add a Group of Death draw too, but then Italy do best when expectations are low.

Coach: Antonio Conte — The ex-Juventus boss struggled with lack of time spent alongside his squad and was criticised for not picking young talent. Now Chelsea beckons for Conte.

Preferred XI: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Florenzi, Jorginho, Montolivo, Candreva, Giaccherini; El Shaarawy, Pellè

Injuries to key midfielders mean a return to 3-5-2. Southampton striker Graziano Pellè is the only guarantee in attack and the left wing-back race wide open.

Look out for: Conte’s sides are always aggressive and built on the rock solid Juventus defensive unit, but the midfield must be transformed amid injuries.

Did you know?

  • Italy have won the World Cup four times, but the Euros only once in 1968.
  • The Azzurri lost the Euro 2000 Final to France’s Golden Goal in extra time.
  • The 1968 semi-final with USSR was decided on a coin toss, as penalties hadn’t been introduced.

Italy versus…

…Belgium P 21 W 13 D 4 L 4 F 41 A 24
…Sweden P 22 W 10 D 6 L 6 F 27 A 24
…Republic of Ireland P 13 W 8 D 3 L 2 F 20 A 9

Stats

Population: 60.6m
Nickname: Gli Azzurri, La Nazionale
Calcio fans might remember: Francesco Toldo - Fiorentina (1993-2001), Inter (2001-2011)
Top Division: Serie A
FIFA World Ranking: 15
International honours: World Cup (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), European Championship (1968), Olympic Gold Medal (1936)
Most capped player: Gianluigi Buffon (156)
Leading international scorer: Luigi Riva (35)
Italy at the European Championships:

1960 – Did not enter
1964 - Did not qualify
1968 - Champions
1972 - Did not qualify
1976 - Did not qualify
1980 – Fourth Place
1984 – Did not qualify
1988 – Semi-Final
1992 – Did not qualify
1996 – Group Stage
2000 – Runners-up
2004 – Group stage
2008 – Quarter-Final
2012 – Runners-up

How they got to Euro 2016: Italy topped Group H with seven wins and three draws.