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Italy

Italy - Brazil World Cup 2014

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FIFA World Cup finals history

With four world titles to their name (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006) and two runners-up slots (1970 and 1994), Italy lie second only to Brazil on the all-time FIFA World Cup honours board. La Squadra Azzurra are also the only team along with the Brazilians to have won the competition twice in a row. Their 4-3 semi-final defeat of West Germany at Mexico 1970 is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular matches in the history of the tournament.

The key players
Captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is the only survivor from their 2006 triumph in Germany along with Andrea Pirlo, while a host of youngsters have broken into the team, such as central defender Andrea Ranocchia and midfielder Marco Verratti. Up front, the transition from old to new has been even more dramatic thanks to the emergence of Stephan El Shaarawy and Giuseppe Rossi’s return to the fore. Also with a vital role to play are the maverick duo of Mario Balotelli and Pablo Osvaldo.

Coach: Cesare Prandelli
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Italy 1934, France 1938, Spain 1982 and Germany 2006 (Winners), Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Berlin 1936 (Winners)
Former stars: Dino Zoff, Paolo Maldini, Silvio Piola